Ensaf Haidar, the wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, spoke before the U.N. Human Rights Council where she condemned Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the international body. Noting that her husband, the creator of website Free Saudi Liberals, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2013 for allegedly “insulting Islam,” Haidar said that she had agreed to speak to the council on behalf of NGO UN Watch because it was the “first time I have ever been able to speak directly to a Saudi representative.”
According to Haidar, Badawi, 33, suffers from high blood pressure and nearly died after receiving the first 50 of his lashes. Saudi Arabia has postponed the rest of Badawi’s lashes due to his ailing health, but the blogger has now spent “five years in prison for an opinion.”
“Ironically,” Haidar told the Human Rights Council, “some of [the reforms Badawi] was demanding are already being implemented in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Saudi Arabia spoke of these reforms when it was elected as a member of this council. And yet, Raif is still in prison.”
“My husband did not commit any crime,” she added. “He simply aspired for a better future for his country … He created a liberal forum, wrote a blog, and for that he was imprisoned.”
In her remarks, Haidar said that Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the recently instated Crown Prince of the Middle-Eastern country, would have to pardon Badawi if Saudi Arabia really felt the country “deserved” its seat on the council.
Read the full story at The Daily Mail.