Saudi Arabia warns Canada to back off over Badawi flogging case

Saudi ambassador to Canada reportedly writes letter insisting it will not tolerate ‘interference’ in the case against blogger Raif Badawi
Saudi Arabia warns Canada to back off over Badawi flogging case
Activist and writer Raif Badawi.
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 02 Apr 2015 01:26 PM

Saudi Arabia has written a stern letter to the government of Quebec warning it not to “interfere” in the case of flogged blogger Raif Badawi.

Badawi’s Saudi family is in exile in the Canadian province after he was jailed and sentenced to 1000 lashes for writing unfavourable blogs about the kingdom.

Quebec and other international governments and influential people have criticised the sentence and urged Saudi Arabia not to continue the flogging, which has been suspended since the first set of 50 lashes were given in January, due to Badawi’s health.

In a letter obtained by CBC and sent to the Quebec National Assembly, Saudi ambassador to Canada Naif Bin Al Sudairy said the kingdom “does not accept any form of interference in its internal affairs”, according to the Montreal Gazette.

“The Kingdom does not accept at all any attack on it in the name of human rights especially when its constitution is based on Islamic law, which guarantees the rights of humans and preserves his blood, money, honour and dignity,” Al Sudairy wrote in the March 10 letter, adding that he blamed international human rights agencies and the media for tarnishing Saudi Arabia’s reputation.

Quebec Immigration and Diversity Minister Kathleen Weil reportedly told media the government would not be intimidated by the Saudi letter.

“No backing down. We’re going to pursue the mobilisation that we began. It’s important for Quebecers to express themselves,” Weil was quoted as saying.

“We adopted a unanimous motion in the National Assembly saying we are going to continue to support Raif Badawi and his family. We want Raif Badawi to be released from prison and to be able to come here and live with his wife and his children.”

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has previously reiterated his government’s support for Badawi and his family.

“We will not put our arms down,” Couillard said in February. “The democratic world has to say loud and clear that we don’t want those practices to go again without notice from the rest of the world.”

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