The wife of a Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes ‘for insulting Islam,if you missed the story read it (here) today accused the government of killing her husband week by week - and spoke of her agony at ‘watching him die one lash at a time’.
Speaking to the MailOnline, she said:
‘Saudi Arabia is endangering his health and life – if they go through with the whole 1,000 lashes, they are killing him more every week. It is a criminal act.’Ensaf and the couple's three children, Najwa, 11, Terad, 10, and Miriam, seven, have been living in a small town in Canada since November 2011.They fled Saudi Arabia when Raif was arrested, spending two years living in Lebanon before being granted refugee status.It means - although they are safe - none of them have seen Raif for more than four years and, since he was moved to a new prison two-and-a-half weeks ago, no one has spoken to him either.However, Ensaf, 35, did have friends in the square last Friday - including Raif's sister.Ensaf said. 'She unfortunately witnessed the flogging,' She was there to try and support her brother.'He was very strong - he was silent during the flogging.' But the advent of technology means Ensaf has also been able to see what happened to her husband.
Ensaf is still shocked it has come to this: she knew her husband wrote a blog called Free Saudi Liberals, but never thought it would draw the attentions of the authorities like it did.He was arrested in June 2012 - although it had been expected for a while, as the government had blocked his bank accounts and banned him from leaving the country in 2009.At first, he was accused of apostasy - or renouncing Islam, a charge which, if found guilty, would have meant beheading.It was upped to 10 years and 1,000 lashes after he appealed the sentence.‘I was surprised, because I never thought it would go this far,' Ensaf said.
'What he is has been accused of is not true. He did not insult the religion and Islam or any member of the government. The blog was only about social change and human rights.He did not do anything wrong - he is a prisoner of conscience.’But it was thrown out by Sadi Arabia's high court, and Raif was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after being found guilty by an anti-terrorism court of 'undermining the regime and officials,' ''inciting public opinion' and 'insulting the judiciary'.Yet on Thursday the Saudi government confirmed this week's flogging would go ahead in the Jeddah square, which has earned the grisly nickname 'Chop Chop Square' as the site of executions