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Photograph of Raif Badawi by his wife, Ensaf Haidar, for Amnesty on her husband's case.

Photograph of Raif Badawi by his wife Ensaf Haidar, for Amnesty International

Update in the case of Raif Badawi

This Friday’s scheduled flogging of Raif Badawi has been postponed for medical reasons.

On Wednesday, I had a conversation with a fine gentleman in the office of the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Stephen Harper. I identified myself and was given time to tell Raif’s story. I provided the name of my weblog and was asked to spell it out. Posts are not exhaustive, but they can be a good starting-point. I was taken seriously. The gentleman with whom I spoke said that my message would be relayed to the Canadian Prime Minister, and it was.

I also phoned the Embassy of Saudi Arabia. I believe too many individuals were on the phone. I could not speak to anyone. However, someone in the Prime Minister’s office, probably the Prime Minister himself, phoned the Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

Ottawa’s Involvement

In yesterday’s newspaper, I read that John Baird, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs was taking action. He declared that the flogging of Raif Badawi was in violation of human dignity and freedom of expression (violation de la dignité humaine et de la liberté d’expression). As noted above, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia was also contacted. (See, La Tribune, 15 January 2015, p. 5.)

I presume other persons phoned the office of the Prime Minister. Alone, there is little I can do. One can sign an online petition. go to your country’s online:

Amnesty International.

Quebec’s Involvement

In Quebec, Christine St-Pierre, Quebec’s Minister of International reactions, is doing all she can to help the Badawi family. The premier of Quebec, the Honourable Philippe Couillard, has spoken with madame Ensaf Haidar, Mr Badawi’ wife. Premier Couillard has stated that Quebec was ready to welcome Mr Badawi, if he is freed. Mr Badawi has a home in Canada.

Ensaf Hainar, Mr Badawi’s wife, talked with her husband. He is severely wounded and today’s scheduled flogging, 50 lashes, could have endangered her husband’s life. Mr Bawani is not a robust person.

I thank authorities in Saudi Arabia’s for this week’s reprieve.

This is not a Partisan Issue

Liberation of Mr Badawi is not a partisan issue. All Canadian Political Parties are involved in the struggle to spare Raif Badawi further torture and to bring him to Canada to join his family. The Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, has entered the forum and so have members of the New Democratic Party, led by Thomas Mulcair, the official leader of the opposition. Sherbrooke’s representative in Ottawa, Pierre-Luc Dussault, a member of the New Democratic Party, is also acting on behalf of Mr Badawi.

Jesus' Name in Arabic

Jesus’ name in Arabic followed by Peace be upon him (Caption and photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meeting between Turki al-Faisal and Mr Baird

Mr Baird, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is scheduled to meet with prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia shortly. A meeting could take place as early as next week. Prince Turki al-Faisal is expected to visit Ottawa in February 2015.

Dr Nizar al-Madani, who is in charge of foreign affairs for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2nd after prince Turki al-Faisal, joined last Sunday’s march in Paris. Dr Madani’s participation could be interpreted as hypocritical. I have chosen to look upon Dr Nizar al-Madani’s participation in the march as an indication that Saudi Arabia will listen to pleas for clemency and will free Mr Badawi.

I do not wish to create false expectations. Canada does not have a strong voice. It is not a superpower. However, the matter may be resolved diplomatically and under international legislation. Torture is a violation of:

Please note that this statement is not an indictment of Saudi Arabia or any other country. I am one person, not an organization, asking that Mr Badawi, a fellow human being, be spared torture and possibly death. Throughout history, thousand of individuals have been the victims of extremism. I trust Saudi Arabia will free Mr Badawi.

My kindest regards to all of you.

Henry Purcell, Chaconne in G minor, Versailles Soloists

© Micheline Walker
15 January 2015