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1,000 lash sentence for Saudi blogger postponed

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DUBAI: Saudi Arabia postponed until next week Friday’s flogging of a blogger jailed for insulting Islam, citing medical reasons, a week after he received the first 50 of 1,000-lash sentence, his wife said.

Raef Badawi received the first whipping in public outside a mosque in Jeddah, sparking an international outcry and a campaign by Amnesty International for him to be freed. Badawi is expected to undergo 20 more weekly beatings until his punishment is complete.

“The prison doctor saw (Raef) Badawi’s health does not allow his flogging today,” his wife, Ensaf Haidar said over telephone from Canada, where she has sought asylum with her three children. Haidar said Friday’s flogging was postponed because her husband’s wounds had not yet healed, an explanation also given by Amnesty.

“But it will probably still take place next Friday,” she said. Earlier, Amnesty also spoke of Badawi’s unhealed wounds, terming the punishment as “macabre and outrageous.” The doctor recommended the flogging be postponed until next week, a statement said.

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