on Raif Badawi - Bianca Jagger, President and Chief Executive, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
After the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks the world came together to express its condemnation of the heinous murders and in support of freedom of the press. World leaders joined President Hollande in a stand of solidarity for freedom of expression throughout the world. Even Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to France Mohammed Ismail Al-Sheikh was among those present.
It is unconscionable that in the 21st Century flogging remains a form of punishment and that people can be condemned to death for apostasy. How can any government be regarded as a democracy whilst they continue to impose these cruel practices?
Raif Badawi's imprisonment for his blog 'Saudi Free Liberals Forum’ and his punishment for speaking his mind of a 1000 floggings and ten years in prison is shocking and barbaric.
Freedom of expression is an inalienable right that must be protected and upheld. We cannot be selective as to who can have this fundamental right. We need consistency to ensure that all journalists, bloggers and individuals are protected. To paraphrase Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s quotation we may not agree with what you have to say, but we must defend to the death your right to say it.
As Founder and President of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and as Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador for the Abolition of the Death Penalty I felt, from the moment I first heard of Raif's imprisonment and flogging, compelled to help him. This is why I am urging Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz to do all he can to release Raif Badawi.
President and Chief Executive, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador
Member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA
IUCN Bonn Challenge Ambassador
Twitter - @BiancaJagger
Facebook Fan Page - Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation