Some in the crowd asserted that he should have been beheaded, to the murmured agreement of other onlookers. A glimpse into the West’s future:
“‘The crowd were shouting Allahu Akbar. A man was striking Raif with all his might’: Wife of Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes reveal horror as she saw him punished,” MailOnline, May 18, 2016:
It was a court ruling that sparked outrage around the world.
Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail in Saudi Arabia for insulting Islam, a verdict later upheld by the country’s supreme court.
Badawi received the first 50 lashes outside a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in January and later revealed it was ‘miraculous’ he had survived the ordeal.
His wife Ensaf Haidar, the President co-founder, Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom (RBFF), has launched a worldwide campaign to secure his freedom.
Here, in an excerpt from her new book ‘Raif Badawi, The Voice of Freedom: My Husband, Our Story’ (Other Press) Ensaf describes the horror of watching footage of her loved one being whipped in public….
…I nervously fumbled a cigarette from the pack in front of me. ‘Tomorrow they’re going to start enforcing my sentence. One of the prison warders told me.’ It took me a moment to understand what he was telling me. ‘Yes, Ensaf. The first 50 lashes. I’ll get them in front of the big mosque in Jeddah.’…
The whole day was one big nightmare. I called my friend Mireille. ‘Have they done it?’ I asked her. ‘Yes,’ said Mireille. ‘In public, in front of a big crowd of people. So we have witnesses. Soon it will be all over the net.’ ‘There’s also supposed to be a video,’ she warned me. ‘Someone filmed Raif’s lashes on their phone.’
It wasn’t hard to find. By now some of my Facebook friends were referring to it. It also appeared immediately on YouTube when you searched for ‘Raif Badawi’ and ‘lashes’. It was as if I was being operated by remote control. With trembling hands I clicked on the video to set it in motion. I saw Raif’s delicate frame from behind, in the middle of a big crowd of people. He was wearing a white shirt and dark trousers, and his hair hung down to his shoulders. He looked thin. His hands were cuffed in front of his body. I couldn’t see his face. The men around him were wearing the usual white gowns and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.
The man himself could not be made out in the video. But I saw clearly that he was striking Raif with all his might. Raif’s head was bowed. In very quick succession he took the blows all over the back of his body: he was lashed from shoulders to calves, while the men around him clapped and uttered pious phrases. It was too much for me. It’s indescribable, watching something like that being done to the person you love. I felt the pain they were inflicting on Raif as if it was my own….