Saudi blogger Raif Badawi's flogging delayed for 4th week

The weekly flogging of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been postponed again, according to Amnesty International.

Blogger sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for criticizing Islam

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for criticizing Islam. (Amnesty International Canada)

Saudi Arabia has again delayed a planned flogging of a blogger, according to a report from Amnesty International.

The Twitter account of the organization's press office said Raif Badawi was spared a flogging today for reasons not yet known.

Badawi is serving 10 years in prison and has also been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for the blog criticizing Saudi Arabia's clerics.

Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who has been flogged by Saudi authorities, has been actively lobbying for her husband's release. Haidar lives in Sherbrooke, Que. (Fred Chartrand/CP)

The first 50 lashes were delivered on Jan. 9. He was expected to receive 50 more every week for the following 19 weeks, according to Amnesty International.

The next two floggings were postponed on medical grounds and the next round scheduled for Jan. 30 was delayed for unspecified reasons.

Badawi is not a Canadian citizen but his wife and children fled Saudi Arabia in 2012 and settled in Sherbrooke, Que., in 2013.

He was arrested in 2012 after writing articles critical of Saudi Arabia's clerics on his blog, which has since been shut down.

Badawi was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, but an appeals judge later stiffened the punishment and fined him one million Saudi riyals, or more than $300,000.

Badawi's detention and sentence have stirred up worldwide condemnation.

Now-former foreign affairs minister John Baird, Development Minister Christian Paradis and Andrew Bennett, Canada's ambassador for religious freedom, have all issued statements condemning the sentence. 

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