January 8, 2015:  CFI Canada has received information from Ensaf Haidar that her husband, Raif Badawi, is expected to receive lashes on January 9.  Ms. Haidar informs CFIC that “the lashing order says Raif should be lashed severely”.  Raif Badawi was imprisoned for insulting Islam by the Saudi government.



CFI Canada condemns the Saudi government for its barbaric and horrifying intention to torture Raif Badawi.   Kevin Smith, CFI Canada’s Chair said, ” It is terrible and horrifying that one day after the murders of people at Charlie Hebdo, a person will begin a punishment of 1000 lashes for expressing his thoughts on a blog.”

CFIC urges Canadians to express their outrage and condemnation to the Government of Canada.  Eric Adriaans, National Executive Director of CFI Canada said, “Freedom of speech is under threat by religious extremists.  Faith-based terrorists are attacking and killing journalists and cartoonists while governments use cruel blasphemy laws to torture their citizens.  It is time the Canadian government actively opposed blasphemy laws and the brutality and violence they precipitate.  The Canadian government should start by calling for the immediate release of Raif Badawi and by abandoning Canada’s own blasphemy law, Criminal Code Section 296.”

Should you wish to express your concern to the Canadian government:

Contact info for Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs:http://www.robnicholsonmp.ca/contact/ ;
Find the contact information for your MP via postal code here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseofCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC

Update # 1 – January 8, 2015

Ambassador Andrew Bennett issued a statement denouncing the punishment of Raif Badawi.  We have reproduced it here:

Canada Denounces Flogging of Saudi Activist

January 8, 2015 – Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:

“I am greatly concerned by reports that Saudi human rights activist Raif Badawi will tomorrow begin facing a punishment of 1,000 lashes, along with a 10-year prison sentence, for exercising his right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

“The public flogging outside a mosque in Jeddah each week for 20 weeks, with 50 lashes administered on each occasion, is a gross violation of human dignity, which I strongly denounce.

“Canada strongly upholds the fundamental freedoms of freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of association, among other inalienable human rights, as a basis on which society is established, thrives and progresses.

“The punishment being administered to Mr. Badawi is inhumane and is unbecoming of a society which seeks to advance itself within the family of nations. Such advancement must be predicated on respect for freedom of religion and other fundamental human rights. May clemency and mercy be shown in this case.”


Update # 2 – January 12, 2015

To sign an online petition to support Raif Badawi:



Update # 3 – January 13, 2015

CFI Canada calls its volunteers and supporters to join or lend support to weekly 30-minute demonstrations at the Saudi embassy in Ottawa.  Amnesty International  Canada  is leading this initiative on Thursday January 15, 2015  at 4:00 pm.  Raif Badawi is expected to receive lashes every Friday for a total of twenty weeks.    For further information, contact the CFIC office at ned@cficanada.ca.

Amnesty International has established Twitter campaigns using  the hashtags  #SaudiArabia: Freedom not flogging for @Raif_Badawi. Add your voice to #StopTorture & #FreeRaif spr.ly/6016avN2


Update # 4 – January 23, 2015

As we continue to monitor this situation, we have found a media story which indicates that Raif Badawi may not receive further lashes and could be released earlier than the initial 10-years.  CFIC is proud to have been a part of the worldwide support for Mr. Badawi. We will continue to provide updates on this as we learn more.

Update # 5 – January 23, 2015

As we continue to monitor this situation, we have found a media story which indicates that Raif Badawi may not receive further lashes and could be released earlier than the initial 10-years.  CFIC is proud to have been a part of the worldwide support for Mr. Badawi.


Update # 6 – June 8, 2015

The Saudi Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for blogger Raif Badawi.


Update #7 – June 19, 2015

Raif Badawi was awarded his tenth international honor by the Mayor of Strasbourg:  The Medal of Honor Strasbourg Award

Follow the Media Reports on this Issue

1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/raif-badawi-saudi-arabia-urged-to-halt-flogging-of-liberal-blogger-sentenced-to-1000-lashes-9967008.html

2. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/saudi-arabia-activist-raif-badawi-may-not-serve-whole-10-year-prison-sentence-1484818

3. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/raif-badawi-flog-me-instead-of-saudi-blogger-says-senior-us-academic-9998541.html

4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/22/flogging-saudi-blogger-raif-badawi-postponed

5.  http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/30/saudi-blogger-sentenced-to-1000-lashes-spared-flogging-for-at-least-another-week-amnesty-says/

6.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33039815?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_breaking&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=news_central