The Saudi authorities have finally released blogger and opposition activist Raif Badawi, after 10 years of arbitrary detention in its prisons,
“Raif is free after 10 years of imprisonment,” Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife, wrote on her Twitter account.
Saudi human rights organisations confirmed the release of Badawi after the end of his sentence, stressing that his release was conditional on preventing him from traveling for another 10 years since the date of his release.
Raif Badawi, 38, is the founder of the “Free Liberal Network”. He has been detained in Saudi Arabia since June 2012 for his opposition work, and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, 1000 lashes, and a fine of one million riyals ($270,000).
In late June 2021, the Saudi authorities released Samar Badawi, Raef’s sister, three years after her arbitrary arrest in August 2018.
She was arrested in a government campaign against human rights activists, which included Nassima Al-Sada, who was arrested in the same year due to her work in the field of human rights, and campaigning against the imprisonment of her ex-husband, human rights lawyer Walid Abu Al-Khair, and her brother Raif.
Hundreds of human rights activists, preachers and academics are subjected to political detention in Saudi Arabia, on alleged charges of “terrorism and conspiracy against the state.” Despite multiple calls for their release by international and non-governmental human rights organisations, public figures and activists; the Saudi authorities continued their detention and referred them to mock trials that lack the minimum standards of fair trials in notorious courts known for issuing death sentences against many opponents in Saudi Arabia.