“He Was Silent but You Could Tell That He Was in Real Pain”

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Raif Badawi, founder of a website for political and social debate, has been held in a Saudi Arabian prison since 17 June 2012. ©Private

An eyewitness account of the flogging today of Raif Badawi an activist in Saudi Arabia sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website for public debate. The witness has not been identified for security reasons.

“When the worshippers saw the police van outside the mosque, they knew someone would be flogged today. They gathered in a circle. Passers-by joined them and the crowd grew.

No one knew why the man brought forward was about to be punished. Is he a killer, they asked? A criminal? Does he not pray? Raif Badawi had been brought to the square in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah just after midday. There was a huge security presence – not just accompanying Raif but also in the streets and around the mosque. Some roads had also been closed.

Raif was escorted from a bus and placed in the middle of the crowd, guarded by eight or nine officers. He was handcuffed and shackled but his face was not covered – everyone could see his face.

Still shackled, Raif stood up in the middle of the crowd. He was dressed in a pair of trousers and a shirt. A security officer approached him from behind with a huge cane and started beating him. Raif raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arching his back.

He was silent, but you could tell from his face and his body that he was in real pain.

The officer beat Raif on his back and legs, counting the lashes until they reached 50. The punishment took about 5 minutes. It was very quick, with no break in between lashes.

When it was over, the crowd shouted, “Allah-hu Akbar! Allah-hu Akbar!” – as if Raif had been purified. Raif was taken away in the bus, back to prison. The whole scene had lasted less than half an hour.” Take action and tell Saudi authorities to release Raif Badawi!

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26 thoughts on ““He Was Silent but You Could Tell That He Was in Real Pain”

  1. I find it cruel, primitiv and inhuman to treat a human being in this midevil fashon !

  2. We all have the obligation to respect human rights and freedom of expression in particular. Thus, saudi need to release this penality as soon as it is responsible for that matter

  3. This is not acceptable. This is barbaric and achieves nothing of value. You cannot BEAT a belief out of anyone. You cannot DESTROY an idea with violence or incarceration. It simply will not prevail! Adopt a different path – awake to humanity – it prevails!

  4. This is insane and has to be stopped. We must stop being hypocrites and make noise only when certain areas of the society are affected by injustice. "Je Suis Raif"

  5. Those barbaric practices show that no matter what gadgets the Saudis Royals, no matter if they were educated in Britain, they are still savages!

  6. These barbaric acts are not in God's name………only democracy being suppressed.

  7. why do we have links with such a backward think country like this….its 2015, fucking disgusted.

  8. If these are our allies our government needs to pressurise them to stop immediately. This barbarity is not acceptable in 2015.

  9. Saudi Arabia is a country that is an abomination to humans. Cruelty and punishment imposed on this wonderful man is wrong, immoral, and evil

  10. Saudi Arabian justice appears to be nothing more than an ongoing confession of cowardice. If they have "truth," then it can stand up to discussion. If it cannot stand up to discussion, it is not truth. They appear to be mortally afraid of discussion. Beating people who are not afraid like themselves.

  11. It is simply horrible that the Saudi-Arabia state has come so short of giving its citizens noe elementary freedoms. There is still time to amend the laws.

  12. Barbaric. And the Saudis are our allies? No one is safe to speak for him but you and me.

  13. And the US corporate-government considers the barbaric Saudi theocracy as "friends" because it suits its financial and geopolitical interests. What is worse, Medieval religions or modern hypocrisy?

  14. We cannot expect these barbaric people to have or understand free speech, civility or compassion for their fellow man – they are a backward thinking people who cannot grasp that this is an evolving and rapidly changing World

  15. this is so cruel and for what ,having a brain to think with ,seems to me a lot of psychopaths are enjoying hurting more intelligent people than themselves in the name of their so called god of peace,may he show them the same mercy as they have shown their innocent victims when they come to be judged .

  16. We all have the same God and he must be weeping at what goes on in Saudi and other countries in his name.

  17. No Allah, no God, no Buddha, no Krishna ever wants that his children are in pain. Inflicted by those that thing that they are right. We all are children of a superior being. That being that has created this world and this universe. We cant be judge and we cant be punisher, specifically not in cases where politics is involved. Our role in life is to love, to show compassion and understanding, not to hate and not to punish those that think differently. What makes us different from animals if we act like this ? We are the people of this world, the brothers and sisters on this planet and we all deserve much better than this.