Blogger flogged. 50 lashes down. 950 to go.


Flogging of Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia ‘vicious act of cruelty’

A witness confirmed to Amnesty International that the flogging of Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi took place this morning after Friday prayers in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah.

“The flogging of Raif Badawi is a vicious act of cruelty which is prohibited under international law,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“By ignoring international calls to cancel the flogging Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated an abhorrent disregard for the most basic human rights principles.”

An eyewitness to the flogging described to Amnesty International how Raif Badawi was removed from a bus in shackles and brought to the public square in front of the mosque in the middle of a crowd.

“A crowd gathered in a circle. Passers-by joined them and the crowd grew. But no one knew why Raif was about to be punished. Is he a killer, they asked? A criminal? Does he not pray?” the witness said.

“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.”

“Raif Badawi is a prisoner of conscience; his only ‘crime’ was to exercise his right to freedom of expression by setting up a website for public discussion. He must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Said Boumedouha

Raif Badawi had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi Arabian riyals (about US$266,600) last year for creating an online forum for public debate and accusations that he insulted Islam.

The full sentence of 1,000 lashes will be carried out over a period of 20 weeks.

“It is appalling that 19 weeks of flogging await Raif Badawi over the coming months. Saudi Arabia’s authorities must act immediately to halt all further floggings,” said Said Boumedouha.

The canes are metal filled and very heavy so what looks like a less than full swing packs just as much pain as a wooden cane swung with maximum effort.  Those who’ve had this treatment say the pain builds up and up.  I would never travel to a Middle eastern country, or use their airlines.  Their treatment of foreigners is appalling, let alone their abysmal cruelty to each other.

RELATED VIDEO CLIP (does not work on here, but can be seen by clicking through)

The following 40-second video clip was filmed surreptitiously on a mobile telephone.

A man is seen being whipped in public. It is not absolutely certain that this is official JCP ordered by a court. It all looks decidedly informal and ad hoc and arbitrary, but then the whole Saudi system is very ad hoc and arbitrary. At all events, this punishment is being inflicted by officials in uniform, who are presumably police or judicial officers of some sort.

The prisoner in this case is allegedly a sex offender, though there is no way of verifying that. He is being held up (somewhat incompetently) against the back of a police van and punished with what is either a somewhat rigid whip or an extremely flexible long cane. We see roughly 50 lashes, though nobody appears to be counting. It is the extreme rapidity of the strokes — about four per second — which is perhaps most surprising, and which makes this seem quite a different kind of thing from the formal and ceremonial manner in which JCP has typically been conducted in the British world (Malaysia, Pakistan, etc.), where a very specific number of strokes is delivered slowly and carefully.

The caning, if so it can be described, is targeted very approximately at the culprit’s buttocks, but its administration is so hasty and slapdash that some of the strokes appear to fall on the small of his back. As one would expect when there are so many of them, the strokes are not particularly hard. And, as is common in the Arab world, the prisoner keeps all his clothes on. Nevertheless, surprisingly soon he is heard moaning and shouting.

It can be seen clearly that the official administering this whipping does not have a book under his arm (see commentary above).

Scarred by the savage lash of Islamic justice

Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent, concludes his series on the cruel and brutal treatment of women in the Arab Gulf states

In Saudi Arabia, the girls are held down by a policewoman while they are whipped by a man. In the United Arab Emirates, they are ordered to lie on a bench to be lashed, though sometimes their hands are shackled above their heads.

As an Asian diplomat put it apologetically: “They must be restrained in case they run amok during the beatings.” For supposed immoral behaviour or for theft, a Filipina, Sri Lankan or Indian maid in the Arab Gulf can expect up to 200 lashes with a bamboo cane no thicker than a man’s small finger – administered by a man, of course.

Islamic “justice” had condemned hundreds of young women to be flogged in the Gulf in the past three years – well over 2,000, according to two Asian embassies that have vainly tried to protect their female nationals – before deporting them home, penniless and in disgrace. A chance meeting with a boyfriend, an innocent friendship or a serious love affair all have provoked the wrath of five-man sharia courts.

The cruelty of the whipping of women is carefully documented throughout the Gulf where, at least in the smaller emirates, newspapers carry daily reports of the flogging of young women who often are the victims of rape at the hands of their employers.

Many of the Islamic court judges who order the whippings are Saudis who have been given sharia court posts outside the kingdom. One Western medical worker who was herself imprisoned on fraudulent charges of “attempted seduction” has reported that several women in Saudi prisons “allege that on being arrested by police or muttawa [religious police], they are sexually molested”.

The savage prison flogging of young women is routine in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Take the case of the small Arab emirate of Sharjah. On 23 March this year, an Islamic court there ordered two women to receive 180 lashes for alleged adultery. On 2 April, an Asian housemaid was condemned by the Sharjah court to 140 lashes and a year in prison for an alleged extra-marital relationship. Two days later, the same court ordered two married Asian women to receive 180 lashes for alleged adultery.

Last month alone saw another spate of lashings. On 6 September, a 24- year-old woman was sentenced to 90 lashes of the cane for alleged adultery; four days later an Asian maid was ordered to be whipped 180 times for “indulging in sex outside marriage”. Another maid was ordered to be flogged 140 times for “adultery” on 18 September.

Six days later, the Sharjah court ordered a 24-year old Filipina maid to receive 180 strokes of the cane for adultery with a male Indian friend. The Philippines embassy tried to save Josephine Vergara from her punishment, but was ignored. “We went to see her and she was, well, not happy about it,” an official from the embassy said. “We tried to see what we could do, but the wheels of justice had turned.”

“Justice” in the United Arab Emirates is always administered by a man who leans over the girl to cane her in the presence of both male and female prison officers and – sometimes, though not always – a doctor. “The man who lashes the girl has to hold a Koran under his right arm as he beats her. This is to reduce the pain he can inflict, because he cannot move his upper arm for fear he will drop the Koran in the dust,” said an Asian who has been present at the lashing of a girl. “But of course, it can still be very, very painful. If the girl screams too much and seems in too much pain, they will administer the punishment in instalments – 40 lashes now, 40 in a week’s time and so on.”

Arab courts insist that the lashings are the only way of ensuring that local “morality” is upheld – though the number of court-ordered floggings suggests the opposite. Islamic judges also contend that the women are not permanently scarred, even though this is clearly untrue. In the words of a Canadian nurse who worked in the largest hospital in the Saudi capital, Riyadh: “The lashings are brutal and excruciatingly painful; they [the women] will bear the scars physically and psychologically for a long time.”

Asian girls who become pregnant are almost inevitably doomed to be flogged. “If they think they are pregnant, they go to a local hospital – and if they are pregnant, the hospital will always ask them for their marriage certificate,” another Asian diplomat said. “If the girls are not married, the hospital is bound by law to tell the police, and the girls are arrested. From there, they go straight to the courts and are lashed. And then they are deported.”

Among women subjected to the lash in the Saudi prison of Malaz in 1993 was an Indonesian maid who, according to a fellow prisoner, “had been starved and tortured for two years. Her mistress had placed hot irons on her arms and had beaten her on the head with high-heeled shoes, penetrating her scalp.”

The same witness, whose testimony has been made available to the Independent, recorded that “many of the prisoners were domestic helpers who had been raped or otherwise abused by their employers. If they attempted to run away or became pregnant, they were jailed and sometimes lashed”.

An Asian diplomat at first refused to discuss the condition of maids who came to his embassy after being whipped. “It is very difficult for me,” he said. “The Saudis don’t want us to talk about this. But I must tell you that there is blood and there are scars. The way these girls are treated is simple cruelty; you could perhaps call it sadism.”


2 Responses to “Blogger flogged. 50 lashes down. 950 to go.”

  1. Lynn says:

    Whilst the very people administering this are guilty of the most heinous crimes and should stand trial . We have become a very dangerous world full of sickening hypocricy. Thr evil powers that be are truly out of control.

  2. sovereigntea says:

    ISIS/ISIL “islamic extremists” recieve a great deal of criticism and MSM publicity for their alleged penchant for execution by beheading.

    However Saudi rarely recieves the same level of publicity or criticism which is inconsistent although the BBC give it a mention

    BBC 2012 – A Saudi man has been beheaded on charges of sorcery and witchcraft, the state news agency SPA says

    According to Amnesty …..

    Saudi Arabia has a high rate of executions. In 2011 at least 82 executions took place; more than triple the figure of at least 27 executions in 2010. In 2012, a similar number of people were executed.

    Now we can guess at why Prince Charles might appear a bit nervy in this video footage of Saudi swordplay.

    Published on 19 Feb 2014

    Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, was visiting Saudi Arabia on Tuesday (February 18) as part of a short tour of the Middle East.

    The Prince of Wales joined members of the Saudi royal family to take part in a sword dance, known as an Ardah, in the capital Riyadh.

    Charles was wearing traditional robes for the ceremony, which was celebrating the 17-day-long Janadriya Festival.

    The Prince is also visiting Qatar in what will be his second visit to the two nations in just under a year, and his 10th official trip to Saudi Arabia since he first toured the nation in 1986.

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