Foreign Affairs minister insists Saudi Arabia show clemency, permit Raif Badawi to come to Canada
Supporters of dissident writer worried lashings will resume in Saudi Arabia
Federal Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion says the government is still trying to confirm reports that Saudi Arabia is poised to resume lashing Raif Badawi, urging the Saudi government to allow the dissident writer to join his family in Sherbrooke, Que.
In a statement released Monday, the Raif Badawi Foundation said it had received word from a "private source" that the Saudi government will resume the lashing punishment.
"Our understanding of the information is that another series of lashes ... will take place, this time inside the prison," the statement said.
Ordeal never stops. The lashes punishment will restart inside the Saoudi prison's walls. <a href="https://t.co/NeZVFwtn9K">https://t.co/NeZVFwtn9K</a>—@raif_badawi
"If it's true, it is shameful," Dion told reporters. "One doesn't treat a human being this way."
He said Canada is using diplomatic channels to condemn the Saudi government's treatment of Badawi, but because the human rights activist and blogger is not a Canadian citizen, it can only appeal to Saudi authorities on humanitarian grounds.
Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, and children were granted political asylum in Canada in 2013 and live in Sherbrooke.
"The Canadian government invites, indeed, insists that the Saudi Arabian government and the king show clemency and permit Mr. Badawi to join his family here in Canada," Dion said.
National Assembly adopts motion of support
Earlier Tuesday, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion denouncing Saudi Arabia's apparent intention to resume Badawi's lashings, calling on Quebec and Canada to do everything possible to secure the 32-year-old's freedom.
In 2014, Badawi was found guilty of insulting Islamic values, "promoting liberal thought" and "going beyond the realm of obedience" by suggesting on his website that the Saudi kingdom should become more democratic.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He also faces a hefty fine.
He received the first 50 in January 2015 but is not believed to have had any since.