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Saudi blogger Raif Badawi with his children, before he was jailed and floggedBy Francis Wheen in Britain:

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Saudi Arabia is teaching Isis a lesson in cruelty, yet the UK continues to defend them

How medieval does a regime have to be before ministers pause to consider the relationship?

Three years ago today, Saudi Arabian police arrested Raif Badawi for the crime of running a website “that propagates liberal thought”. His blog had put the case for secularism in observations such as this: “States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear.”

As if to prove his point, a Sharia court hauled Badawi back into the fearful circle, sentencing him to 600 lashes and seven years in jail for “going beyond the realm of obedience”. Last year, deciding that he had been let off too lightly, a judge upped the punishment to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ imprisonment plus a fine…

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