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Government Censorship Crime The Courts The Internet

Liberal Saudi Web Forum Founder Sentenced To 600 Lashes and 7 Years In Prison 506

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-a-moment-to-appreciate-free-speech dept.
cold fjord writes "Some reformers travel a harder road than others. The Seattle Times reports, 'The founder of a liberal-minded website in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after angering Islamic authorities in the ultraconservative kingdom. ... Raif Badawi, through his website known as Free Saudi Liberals, had urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country, which follows a strict form of Islam that includes harsh punishments for challenging customs. A judge in the Red Sea port of Jiddah imposed the sentences but dropped charges of apostasy, which could have brought a death sentence, the Al-Watan newspaper reported. Badawi has been held since June 2012.' More at details are available at the BBC, which informs us that 'The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.' 'The lashes could be spread out but in Sharia this is a sign that the judge wants to insult him,' Badawi's lawyer said."
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Liberal Saudi Web Forum Founder Sentenced To 600 Lashes and 7 Years In Prison

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  • 150 lashes? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:07PM (#44439425)

    How many does it take to kill a person? Just wondering...

    • Re:150 lashes? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheCarp (96830) <sjc.carpanet@net> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:17PM (#44439561) Homepage

      I doubt you can really put a number on it. I know there used to be superstition on exactly this topic and people used to only get some odd number for that reason; however, I think its likely that either someone once died while being whipped; starting the rumor, or someone started it just to have an excuse not to go overboard.

      In reality I think it would come down to both the health of the person and the technique of the lasher. I have certainly given 150 or more lashings and seen others give even more/harder lashings but, I doubt anything we do in our bedrooms comes close to what these guys do.

      Would also depend on the whip. A bull whip, for example, is much worst than most modern bsdm "cat o 9 tails" types that tend to be made from 10s of foot long strips of soft leather. In fact, I have heard people rant about idiots with no experience who buy bull whips as sex toys without realizing how much damage they can do.

      Its likely highly variable.

      • Re:150 lashes? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheCarp (96830) <sjc.carpanet@net> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:24PM (#44439635) Homepage

        of course, the funny thing is, I occasionally think twice about posting about smoking pot on here, even though I am not actually admitting to a crime in my state. Yet I don't think twice about admitting to having whipped someone for sexual purposes....when my state makes no exception for consensual bdsm in its domestic abuse laws, and doesn't require the "abused" to even agree that they were abused or want to press charges.

        People here still talk about paddleborough

      • Re:150 lashes? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:30PM (#44440469)

        Your comment got me curious, so I went and looked it up. From a 2006 report [state.gov] on human rights practices published by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor:

        "According to press reports, lashings were generally administered with a thin reed by a man who must hold a book under his arm to prevent him from lifting the arm too high. The strokes, delivered through a thin shirt, are not supposed to leave permanent damage but are designed to leave painful welts that bleed and bruise."

        A paragraph or so above that quote is a reference from Human Rights Watch that says that the lashed do not receive medical treatment.

        • Re:150 lashes? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TheCarp (96830) <sjc.carpanet@net> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:21PM (#44440999) Homepage

          Fascinating. Ouch, that could still hurt....a lot. However, its not nearly what I, or I think most people, imagine at the idea of "lashings".

          That said, I don't think the description really does justice to how much pain that really could still cause. A thin reed being so small can generate an awful lot of pain without doing much damage.

          I guess in the grand scheme of these whether this is better or worst than being sentenced to time in jail is a matter of personal opinion (I might actually take the beating over the time if it was more than a week or two).... totally aside from how just disgusted I am at the reasons for it.

          However, lets keep this in perspective... just a few years ago they wanted to stone a woman to death for "being seen in public with a man who was not her husband".... in an incident where the "witnesses" dragged her from a car and gang raped her.... but were not themselves charged with anything. Her life was only spared after international pressure.

          So I guess this is.... not as terrible as that. Um.... good job guys.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wisnoskij (1206448)

      Saudi lashes are not Western lashes.
      In Western countries, when we we performed lashes it was full force and if just several dozen were performed you are talking potential death, broken bones, and striping flesh off of ribs.

      Saudi lashes lashes are more of a sever spanking, causing bleeding and bruising. In particular the wipper is forced to hold a Koran in their swinging arm.

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      Sitting here eating a Tootsie Roll Pop, imagining an Owl asking that question.

      And being glad I'm not a Saudi.

    • Re:150 lashes? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:33PM (#44440491) Homepage Journal

      death by lashes depends largely on how they're administered - so if it's practically something that is death or just slap on the wrist is negotiable by whoever is in power.

      saudi arabia sucks big time and they can all go suck cocks. fucking burma is more fair.

      if you're going to be a saudi arabian net-activist - first thing you should do would be to move the fuck away from there, because they're giant cocksuckers the whole lot.

      now - they know that their business is all purely dependent on oil which is why they're dumping money on some IT business among other tech jobs, which is why there's lots of gigs to there. don't fucking go there to work - and double don't fucking go there to work if you're a woman, just stay the fuck away unless you're invited by royalty and paid royally.

      I don't have this harsh opinions about many countries, but saudi arabia consistently manages to be a fuckhole of DIFFERENT RULES FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE only rivaled by north korea. russia doesn't get half close, china doesn't get close, even the mentioned burma doesn't get half close. even in china getting away with murder of hired underclass is hard and involves both bribing and maintaining secrecy and then escaping the mob retaliation - even if you're part of the party. in saudi arabia no such problems.

      you know how in the gulf oil arab countries booze is banned? well fuck, in practice it's available but you'll have to pay through the nose for it since the local booze mafia is run by the princes(ruling class). insulting that class? well fuck, only if you're part of it can you do it. and the worst thing? the fucker saudis aren't even embarrassed about it and act all surprised if they get caught acting like they do when they're visiting other countries as if their slavery contracts extended elsewhere from their shithole in the desert.

      btw religion has nothing to do with the state of affairs there, it's just a tool.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:08PM (#44439429)

    Good thing we are still friendly with this nation who is a shining beacon of freedom.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:12PM (#44439487) Homepage Journal

      You've been taught a myth in your high school science classes. They tell you that millions of years ago algae and small plants died, and decomposed into oils and coals. This is an evolutionist myth, because the world is only 6001 years old.

      Oil actually comes from unnecessary human suffering, but because evil liberal evolutionists conspired to end slavery in the U.S., we had to outsource our oil production to the middle east.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bondsbw (888959)

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

        • Blocked at my work, so... thanks for that one link reply where the domain trails off before telling me the point of the site.

          • I find it odd that that site is blocked. There is no "objectionable" material on it; ie nakedness, weapons, hatemongering, etc. Just a clipart style poster with icons you can hover over, and a link to buy the poster.
    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      still friendly with this nation

      Yep, Oil kind of trumps all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good thing we are still friendly with this nation who is a shining beacon of freedom.

      Nations don't have friends.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Shining beacon of freedom, shining beacon of oil--one of those.

      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:08PM (#44440207) Journal

        True facts: If you try to light a beacon of freedom, it doesn't catch. Illuminates nothing. Dark, cold, non-flammable freedom.

        But if you try to light a beacon of petroleum, it lights. Brilliantly. Oh, sure, lots of smoke and maybe a risk of wildfire or explosion. But light. Lots of it.

        So, you tell me, what works better for a beacon: oil, or freedom?

  • Remember this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:10PM (#44439455)

    Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive, and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

    • And yet we are friends with them and protect them with our military.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

      It is a peaceful religion. But it's a horrible political system.

      • by bondsbw (888959)

        Does the religion not dictate the politics and the legal aspects of their society?

        • Re:Remember this (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:26PM (#44439677)

          Does the religion not dictate the politics and the legal aspects of their society?

          Partially yes, but eventually they will have to come to terms with the fact that 1400? year old religious-based legal system just cannot be applied in a modern world. Many Muslims have already realized this and accepted it, while others are fighting it tooth and nail. But when it does happen, the legal framework within the religion will be forgotten/ignored much like in Judaism, and then it will really be no more violent/dangerous than modern day Christianity and Judaism are. Because when you think about it, where Islam is right now, Christianity was at the same age. Imagine 14th century Christianity existing right now. It would look pretty bad too.

          • Re:Remember this (Score:5, Insightful)

            by stdarg (456557) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:45PM (#44439915)

            Many Muslims have already realized this and accepted it

            "Many" as in millions perhaps, but that's a small percentage of Muslims.

            When we're talking about the general Muslim population, the people you may know in the US don't count for anything. It's the large populations in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia, etc. that count. There is widespread support for sharia law throughout the Muslim world.

            Because when you think about it, where Islam is right now, Christianity was at the same age. Imagine 14th century Christianity existing right now. It would look pretty bad too.

            That argument makes no sense at all. The age of the religion doesn't matter, it's the state of the world that matters. 14th century Christianity was backwards because in the 14th century we didn't have modern science and medicine, electricity, widespread literacy, the Internet, access to the entire world's products and cultures, and instant access to historical information.

            Guess what? Muslims have all those things. The literacy rate in Iran is over 98%. Pakistan has over 118 million cell phones.

            To top it off there are newer religions that are better, like Sikhism (a monotheistic warrior religion founded in the 15th century as a reaction to the military strength of Islam... that's why they carry swords all the time). Do you think Sikhism is umm 800 years or so behind EVEN ISLAM in terms of modernity? Nope!

            Really, if you have a good reason why younger monotheistic religions should be more backwards, despite examples to the contrary, please share it.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Islam is a huge religion with many different sects and orientations. Saying the whole thing is about violence is just ignorance. May as well lump Quakers and IRA bombers together while claiming Christianity is about war.

          This whole thing about all of Islam being inherently violent is being brought up again and again by people trying to show about how Christianity is superior, and this meme is originating with churches. Pick out a few verses in the Koran and you've got proof that it's inherently violent, b

          • Re:Remember this (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:58PM (#44440759) Homepage

            This whole thing about all of Islam being inherently violent is being brought up again and again by people trying to show about how Christianity is superior

            I can assure you, there are atheists who have no interest in saying 'Christianity is superior' who look at some of these things and think "WTF???"

            We also look at some of the things some Christians tell us they're convinced their god told them and think "WTF???"

            Sometimes, I hear someone from a different religion saying what their god said, and I think "WTF???"

            From the outside looking in, there's enough crazy and indefensible stuff to go around.

            TFA seemed a little thin on details, but I believe he is being lashed for having said words to the effect of "people are free to believe or not believe" -- at which point what is being punished is the statement that you are in fact free to disbelieve.

            And I'm suddenly finding myself thinking "gee, by the time I was 13 and had given up on the belief in god as something I inherited from my parents but couldn't get behind, does being publicly lashed or sentenced to death seem like a reasonable thing". And I'm forced to conclude that, no, it isn't.

      • by dskoll (99328)

        It is a peaceful religion.

        Bull. Islam is a warlike religion that uses threats of (and actual) violence to keep its followers in line and convert non-believers. Islam is an imperialist expansionist violent philosophy.

    • https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ [yourlogicalfallacyis.com]

      Hey, if you can use the link as a weapon against other people's bad arguments...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OzPeter (195038)

      Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive, and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

      Saying that that Wahhabism [wikipedia.org] is representative of Islam is like saying that the Westoboro Baptist Church [wikipedia.org] is representative of Christians.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bongo (13261)

        If you read Nonie Darwish's book ( she is the daughter of a well respected high ranking Gaza intelligence officer who was eventually assassinated by the Israelis ) she says the Saudi stuff IS the dominant force in islam today globally and it continues to get stronger, even in America, when she walks into a mosque, what is being privately taught between Muslims is holy war against infidels. She says all the usual excuses about "jihad means inner struggle" is just PR meant for westerners.

        The book is quite sho

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aggie_knight (611726)

      Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive, and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

      I think you are confusing a political system with a religion.

      Saudi Arabia is a country that leverages their religion to implement a very conservative and authoritarian society.

      Islam is a religion.

      Remember, Christianity has been used throughout history as an excuse to kill, maim, rape, and torture millions of people too. Pretending that Islam is unique in the barbarism that is executed in its name is fuzzy logic at best.

    • "Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive..."

      A different judge would have convicted Badawi of apostasy and sentenced him to death. Remember that when you get an urge to say this judge's sentence is barbaric.

  • At least he won't need mascara

  • Too bad she didn't use one...

  • Holy Moley, in his place I'd be happy to be a lot more insulted, say one a day. 150? Youser!
  • America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Iniamyen (2440798) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:16PM (#44439541)
    As much as I love bitching about the issues that we have here in America, seeing what happens in shitholes like Saudi Arabia makes me feel really lucky to have been born here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858)

      As much as I love bitching about the issues that we have here in America, seeing what happens in shitholes like Saudi Arabia makes me feel really lucky to have been born here.

      ... Our government ruin millions of people's lives over possession of a plant - one conviction and you not only lose your freedom for several years, you lose all opportunity for college scholarships and grants, and have to spend the rest of your life in poverty, working shit, low-wage jobs thanks to a felony conviction. For having a fucking plant on you.

      But yea, no physical punishment; at least, not legally sanctioned (although I think Brad Manning might have a thing or two to say about that), and you can s

  • I mean, they just read your mail, they don't whip you for it.
  • Flaming Liberal!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happy_place (632005) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:19PM (#44439579) Homepage

    The Flaming Liberal, clearly he got what he deserves... 600 lashes and 7 years in prison will definitely change his mind and reform him about those wrong-headed ideas that the blessed Shariah Law-abiding Conservatives of Saudi Arabia are not too punative or quick to deal out harsh rulings.

  • A prime example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:19PM (#44439589) Journal
    Yet another prime example of why alien civilizations won't contact us openly: How can a truly civilized race possibly take us as anything other than animals when we still do things like this? Our so-called "civilization" is just as thin a patina over the animal underneath as our neo-cortex is over the rest of our brains. It's positively heartbreaking to read of things like this in this day and age when I know that the human race, at it's best, is in such stark contrast with such senseless ignorance and brutality.

    No, I'm not joking, and I'm not trolling either; this is really how I feel about this, and I don't care if anyone likes it or not.
    Bracing for being flamed all the way down to "-1, Troll" for daring to speak my mind, which ironically enough will prove my point for me better than I can prove it myself.
    • Re:A prime example (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zak3056 (69287) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:24PM (#44439641) Journal

      Yet another prime example of why alien civilizations won't contact us openly:

      Well, that and the fact that you couldn't get here from pretty much anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. Personally, I tend to think that's a bigger reason than any particular human behavior, but hey, whatever works for you.

      • Re:A prime example (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:26PM (#44439675) Journal
        I'm not so arrogant to believe that we've discovered everything physics has to offer, so I'll still hold out for the possibility of methods of travelling interstellar distances in relatively short periods of time.
      • Re:A prime example (Score:4, Interesting)

        by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:44PM (#44439881)

        This presumes the aliens have a lifespan similar to our own.

        Just here on earth, compare:

        Lifespan of a fruit fly: about 7 to 14 days.
        Time to travel across the US by highway, east to west: 7 to 14 days (depending on traffic and route taken)

        What truckers do routinely as a vocation takes an entire lifetime for a fly.

        Again, that's just here on earth.

        If said aliens have 1000 year lifespans, then they could spend 300 years training for the mission, 300 years to get here from the nearest star, and 300 years to return there, and still have around 100 years to tell the rest of their civilization all about it. (We are assuming some non-trivial fraction of C during travel.)

      • Yet another prime example of why alien civilizations won't contact us openly:

        Well, that and the fact that you couldn't get here from pretty much anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. Personally, I tend to think that's a bigger reason than any particular human behavior, but hey, whatever works for you.

        Human behavior is why aliens put our planet way out in the middle of no where...

    • by djmurdoch (306849)

      Bracing for being flamed all the way down to "-1, Troll" for daring to speak my mind, which ironically enough will prove my point for me better than I can prove it myself.

      As I'm writing this, you are sitting at "4, Insightful". So I guess that proves you are wrong. Ironic, isn't it?

  • ...you know the rest.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @03:31PM (#44439737)

    So we deal with these assholes but threaten war with the Iranians? Anyone want to explain that?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      Sure. There are zero good cultures in the ME, so pitting one variety of Muslim against the other is the most efficient way to (help) maintain the divisions and schismatic violence which they love so well and practiced long before tasty oil made it necessary to deal with them.

      We must have energy, cheap energy, and since much of that energy comes from our cultural enemies the situation requires careful, amoral manipulation.

      When dealing with beasts, choose the most useful. The Wahabis are brutal and nasty, but

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        The iranians could have a nice secular government and would have had we not caused them to have the revolution.

        We kept the Shah in power while he ran death squads then acted surprised when they turned against us.

    • by lgw (121541)

      These assholes aren't building nukes. The combination of "capable of building WMDs" and "not terrified of the consequences of selling an WMD to a terrorist" is something we prefer to deter, as the death toll is far less that way than if it ends up with retribution instead.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        No, they buy their WMDs from us.

        The Iranians are building nukes since they saw what not having them meant for Saddam. If you want to go down that road there is another country in that region that has nukes no one is allowed to inspect, often unilaterally attacks its neighbors and is running a brutal occupation in ways that violates international agreements including using tactics like collective punishment. For some reason we are best buds with them too.

    • by Cigarra (652458) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:02PM (#44440141)
      You have death penalty in the US. And CIA-sanctioned extrajudicial torture. And lots of children-killing drones that rain death all over Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan, among others. And if you're convicted in your late teens for, say, smoking pot, your life is pretty much ruined forever, thanks to the eternal stain that won't let you get an education or a decent job, therefore making sure you remain in poverty ad aeternum.

      Is that somehow less barbaric than what Saudi Arabia does? Please explain how.
  • That god isn't real, and Muhammed wasn't all that special. It's to bad that all those stupid people have all that money
  • In a lot of countries kids (up to age 18) can't go to jail, even if they kill someone, while in other countries seems to be ok to even jail them with adults and be waterboarded.

    In some countries parents could go to prison for putting in their babies earrings, while in others that and similar practices are even promoted by the religions.

    Compare receiving that lashes and ending the trouble there to pass up to 30 years of your life in jail [mmajunkie.com] for showing that something that is public is in fact public. Both are

    • No, there is plenty that the government of Saudia Arabia does that makes it quite easy to refer to them as savages. Every culture is not equal.

  • Seems to me, if any of the "explanations" for our involvement in Afghanistan were true (rather than that GW was a nutcase and Obama a coward), we'd have as much justification for dropping a missile on this judge as we do on the Taliban.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:25PM (#44440391) Journal

    when you have to use laws to keep people from questioning how it's practiced.

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