Labour MP Ann Clwyd Raises Raif Question in UK Parliament - Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Replies
The Rt. Hon. Ann Clwyd Roberts has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cynon Valley since 1984. She was re-elected at the 2015 UK General Election. She is also the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Ann raised this question to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond:
"The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is likely to be flogged again this Friday, a brutal flogging. The minister can boast about our special relationship with Saudi Arabia but really is there not some hypocrisy at the heart of British foreign policy when we continue to sell the largest amount of arms to Saudi Arabia?"
Britain will pressure Saudi Arabia to grant clemency for a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison, the Foreign Secretary replied.
Mr Badawi was convicted of insulting Islam after he criticised Saudi Arabia's powerful clerics on the liberal blog he founded.
In his first public flogging in January, the father-of-three was taken to a public square, whipped on his back and legs, and taken back to prison.
Subsequent floggings were postponed.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hammond said he had previously raised Mr Badawi's case with the "most senior levels" of the Saudi leadership and the judicial process has been completed.
He added: "That is not the end of the story because, as in many such countries, there is an executive power of clemency and commutation and we are urgently seeking to make contact with our most senior interlocutors today to talk to them about how that power will be exercised.
"It will be my intention to ensure certainly that nothing happens on Friday and I hope that nothing happens at all."