"Flogging for Blogging" Official Saudi Policy
On January 9, two days after the massive Paris march condemning the brutal attack on freedom of the press, a young Saudi prisoner named Raif Badawi was removed from his cell in shackles and taken to a public square in Jeddah. There he was flogged 50 times before hundreds of spectators who had just finished midday prayers. The 50 lashes--labeled by Amnesty International a "vicious act of cruelty"--was the first installment on his sentence of 1,000 floggings, as well as ten years in prison and a fine of $266,000. Badawi's crime? Blogging.