What does it take to earn 1,000 lashes and a possible death sentence? In Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes merely for insulting Islam (and the government) in blog posts. His sentence is now being reconsidered, with a possibility of Badawi being re-sentenced, to death. As of Tuesday, the blog posts that prompted his arrest and have long been deleted, will be resurrected, in book form.
Currently, the book, titled 1,000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, is being released in Germany, and there is no word yet on when, or if, we can expect an English-language version. However, many who wish to support Badawi’s case are saying they will buy a copy even if they cannot read it.
According to Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, proceeds will directly benefit Badawi, and his wife hopes that the additional attention to his case may benefit him as well.
According to RawStory, though, others fear that by publishing the book, Raif Badawai puts his life at greater risk.
Th book isn’t only a reproduction of the deleted blog posts, which reportedly tell Raif’s opinions on the Saudi government and Islam, but also includes an account of Badawi’s time in prison, reportedly detailing his treatment, and his feelings about it all.
Badawi was initially sentenced to 1,000 lashes, to be carried out 50 per week, over the course of 20 weeks. He received the first round of punishment (for, remember, speaking against the government and Islam) but as the day for his second round approached, a doctor declared that he was not enough healed from the previous beating to endure another. After that, the beatings were repeatedly delayed or skipped until word surface that Badawi would face a re-trial.
His family has been told, they say, that this new sentencing will be given by the same judge who previously wanted to charge him with apostasy, and who the family fears may hold a prejudice against Raif.
TELL US: Should free speech be a universal right? What do you think about ‘apostasy’ being a punishable crime?