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Tue 20 Jan 2015 05:11 PM

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UK minister says deplores flogging of Saudi activist

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond plans to raise concerns about case with Saudi's deputy foreign minister this week

UK minister says deplores flogging of Saudi activist
Activist and writer Raif Badawi.

Britain deplores the flogging of a blogger in Saudi Arabia and will raise concerns about the case with the country's deputy foreign minister this week, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia's ruling family has come under pressure from Western countries over its punishment of activist and writer Raif Badawi, whose second of 20 weekly floggings was postponed on Friday due to medical grounds.

"We deplore this punishment," Hammond told parliament on Tuesday. "The deputy foreign minister of Saudi Arabia will be here in London on Thursday and I will be speaking to him directly on this issue. We have already made our views known to the Saudi authorities at the highest level."

The political stakes over the punishment of Badawi have been heightened by the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper and its publication last week of new cartoons lampooning Islam's Prophet Mohammad.