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Amnesty International

Saudi Arabia's brutal punishment of a dissident

Saudi Arabia's brutal punishment of a dissident

Last Friday, as the world's attention was riveted on the terrorists who murdered French journalists for publishing cartoons and texts lampooning Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, a 30-year-old Saudi Arabian father of three was brought in shackles to the public square outside the Al Jafali mosque in the Saudi port city of Jeddah where he was flogged with 50 lashes of a cane.

The brutal beating was only a small part of the penalties heaped upon Raef Badawi for running a website inviting public discussion — and criticism — of the powerful clerics who hold sway in Saudi Arabia, enabled and empowered by the Saudi royal family.

Under the terms of his punishment, Mr. Badawi...