Don’t we have any input with these fat rich old man? Their Security depends on us. Why did we have to make the world better for them by taking out their worse enemy Hussein from Iraq
(opinion by adamfoxie blog International and no other entity)
The United Nations has issued a last-minute appeal to Saudi Arabia to stop Friday’s scheduled second round of flogging for a liberal activist sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes of the cane.
Raif Badawi is due to receive the second 50 of his lashes imposed for criticising the country’s religious authorities, a week after the first round caused worldwide outrage. Unless they are stopped, the floggings will be staged in batches of 50 every week for 20 weeks.
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, the new UN commissioner for human rights, said he was appealing to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah "to halt the public flogging by pardoning Mr Badawi, and to urgently review this type of extraordinarily harsh penalty".
He said: "Flogging is, in my view, at the very least, a form of cruel and inhuman punishment. Such punishment is prohibited under international human rights law."
Mr Badawi is one of a number of activists who have grown to prominence urging reforms to Saudi Arabia’s ultra-traditional mixture of absolute monarchy and religious authoritarianism.
But like many others he fell foul of the crackdown that followed the start of the Arab Spring, which Saudi Arabia’s ruling family saw as a dangerous threat to its rule.
A string of activists have been given lengthy jail terms.
Mr Badawi concentrated on the role of Saudi’s hardline clerics and morality police. But his website also carried articles calling for more open political debate in the country.
He was arrested in 2012 and sentenced in May last year to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban, and a ban on appearing on media outlets.
Rough mobile phone footage leaked out of the country last week showed that Mr Badawi had received the first part of his 1,000 lashes after Friday prayers last week, in the square in front of the al-Jafali mosque in the city of Jeddah.
The city is traditionally the most liberal in Saudi Arabia, and the very public flogging, watched by a substantial crowd, may have been a double warning to activists.
In the footage, Mr Badawi can be seen standing to receive his punishment, administered by swift strokes from an unseen hand.
He is wearing a shirt, which medical experts say would mitigate some of the pain, but onlookers said he flinched visibly.
“He was handcuffed and shackled but his face was not covered – everyone could see his face,” one witness told Amnesty International. “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 fact that Prince Zeid, the new UN commissioner for human rights, was the man chosen to send the world’s message of concern to Saudi Arabia adds a new twist.
Prince Zeid was formerly the permanent representative of Jordan to the UN, whose principal international political and financial backer is Saudi Arabia. He is a cousin of the Jordanian royal family.
His appeal is likely to fall on deaf ears. King Abdullah has shown little sign of leniency in the face of stirrings of internal opposition, even though it was his gradual opening up of the country in the years preceding the Arab Spring that encouraged many liberals and women’s rights activists to dare to push for change.
Even if the king, who is 90, were willing to bend, and he were in a strong enough position to over-rule more conservative elements of the Saudi regime, he has been unwell, being treated for pneumonia in a Saudi hospital.
Meanwhile, video footage emerged of a Burmese woman being executed by beheading earlier this week in the holy city of Mecca.
Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim was convicted of torturing and killing her seven-year-old step-daughter, but she resisted and claimed her innocence to the end.
An online video showed her being held down police, shouting 'I didn't kill, I didn't kill'. She is eventually allowed to collapse into a prone position on the road where she is to be killed, upon which the executioner brings down his sword on her neck.
It takes him three blows to fully sever her head.