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Vice President Pence demands U.S. ally Saudi Arabia release Raif Badawi, imprisoned for insulting Islam

Vice President Mike Pence has called on U.S. ally Saudi Arabia to “release Raif Badawi, a blogger imprisoned for reportedly insulting Islam.”

In the midst of Saudi Arabia telling the world that it is modernizing, Raif Badawi remains in jail, and in August of last year, Raif Badawi’s sister Samar — among other women’s rights activists — were rounded up and arrested for criticizing officials in Saudi Arabia. Samar was only heard from last month, when she appeared in court along with other human rights defenders. “Under Saudi Arabia’s terrorism law, the activists face 20 years in prison. Amnesty International’s Philippe Nassif said he was concerned the activists would not have a fair trial or due process, and urged the United States to take action for their release.”

Pence also stated of other jailed human rights defenders:

“The United States calls upon the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the freedom of conscience and let these men go.”

These countries have no conscience to begin with, nor freedoms. Mauritania is still holding black slaves, Pakistan is globally infamous for its cruel Islamic blasphemy laws, and Saudi Arabia is exporting its Wahhabi ideology to madrassas and mosques globally.  No one can expect any response to Pence’s call for religious freedom in such countries. However, it will be interesting to see how Wahhabi Saudi Arabia decides to respond to Pence’s demand to release Badawi, given the Saudi-US alliance and Saudi Arabia’s boasting about becoming modernized.

US demands Saudi Arabia release ‘critic of Islam,’” Al Jazeera, July 18, 2019:

US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called out ally Saudi Arabia for the suppression of religious liberties and urged it to release Raif Badawi, a blogger imprisoned for reportedly insulting Islam.

Pence’s highlighting of Badawi’s ill-treatment comes in light of US legislators accusing the Trump administration of failing to act against the kingdom’s leaders for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an address to the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom conference at the State Department, Pence noted the detention of religious dissidents in Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

“All four of these men have stood strong in defence of religious liberty despite unimaginable pressure, and the American people stand with them,” Pence said.

“The United States calls upon the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the freedom of conscience and let these men go.”

Republican and Democratic legislators – citing evidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the Khashoggi case, and incensed over the civilian death toll from the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands – have ramped up efforts to block President Donald Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The CIA has determined with “medium to high confidence” the Saudi crown prince, considered the de facto ruler of the kingdom, ordered the grisly killing of Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate last year.

1,000 lashes
Badawi, who set up the Free Saudi Liberals website, was arrested in June 2012 for offences that included cybercrime and disobeying his father – an act considered an offence in Saudi Arabia.

The prosecution had demanded he be tried for apostasy, which carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, but a judge dismissed that charge……

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.