Saudi Arabia rejects interference in blogger case

Riyadh, (IANS) The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry rejected on Thursday criticism made by some countries and international organisations on the arrest of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The judiciary is independent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an official source in the ministry said, adding that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not accept any interference in its jurisdiction or internal affairs by any party”.

On Tuesday, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Badawi suffered a “medieval” punishment, according to Xinhua news agency.

Badawi, a writer and the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was arrested in 2012 on charge of insulting Islam through electronic channels.

He was brought to court on several charges, including apostasy, and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, then resentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison plus a fine in 2014.

Those who are against his conviction has launched a campaign, supported by the international press, highlighting fear that the writer might receive his second set of lashes on Friday.

The ministry has not confirmed or denied those reports.

Saudi Arabia, a conservative Sunni state, follows the Islamic punishments that are stated in Quran such as beheading and lashes for certain crimes.

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