Edited from BBC News, Jan 09, 2015
A Saudi Arabian blogger has been publicly flogged. Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years
in jail, was flogged 50 times. The flogging will be carried out weekly,
Mr Badawi, the co-founder of a now banned website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested in 2012.
Mr Badawi was also fined 1 million riyals ($266,000).
In 2013 he was cleared of apostasy, which could have carried a death sentence.
Last year Mr Badawi's lawyer was sentenced to 15 years in
prison after being found guilty of offences in an
anti-terrorism court, the Associated Press news agency reported.
AFP news agency, quoting people at the scene, said Mr Badawi
arrived at a Jeddah mosque in a police car and had the charges read out to
him in front of a crowd.
He was then made to stand with his back to onlookers and whipped, though he remained silent, the witnesses said.
"The flogging of Raif Badawi is a vicious act of cruelty
which is prohibited under international law," said Said Boumedouha of
"By ignoring international calls to cancel the flogging Saudi
Arabia's authorities have demonstrated an abhorrent disregard for the
most basic human rights principles."
Saudi Arabia enforces a strict version of Islamic law and
does not tolerate political dissent. It has some of the highest social
media usage rates in the region, and has cracked down on domestic online
criticism, imposing harsh punishments.