The Society of Authors joins Index on Censorship, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, the Publishers Association and Reporters Sans Frontières in sponsoring the next English PEN-organised vigil, calling on the Saudi Arabian government for the immediate release of writer, blogger and activist Raif Badawi, and to mark the fifth anniversary of his arrest.
Badawi was arrested in 2012 (imprisoned for apostasy in 2013) and sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.
English PEN has been campaigning for his release, calling on the Saudi Arabian government to quash his sentence. PEN has held regular vigils at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London since Badawi was first flogged on 9 January 2015.
"I join many other writers and journalists from all over the world in deploring the action of the Saudi Arabian authorities in imprisoning Raif Badawi and subjecting him to the extraordinary punishment of 1,000 lashes. This is not the action of a wise and confident nation. The best way to gain the respect of free people is to release him at once and cancel all further punishment."
Philip Pullman, President of the SoA
Join the next vigil – Wednesday 17 May 1-2pm
Join us at the next vigil at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London on Wednesday 17 May, a month ahead of the fifth anniversary of Raif Badawi’s arrest.
The vigil will be attended by Badawi’s wife, author and activist Ensaf Haidar. This is the first action in a joint initiative between the PA, PEN and the SoA to support freedom of speech. Watch out for more in the coming months.
Read more and RSVP.
If you aren’t able to attend the vigil, please show your support by sharing details of Badawi’s case and calling for his freedom on social media. Use the hashtag #FreeRaif and follow @raif_badawi.
You can also share photos of yourself holding a message of solidarity to help raise awareness. Please include the location the photo was taken when sharing to help illustrate the breadth of support for Badawi’s case . Download English PEN’s #FreeRaif poster.