Saudi Arabia: Raif Badawi released but serves 10-year travel ban

Freed blogger Raif Badawi will be serving a 10- year travel ban, officials in Saudi Arabia said.

The blogger was arrested in 2012 on charges of “insulting Islam” and recently released on Friday. He has become a popular symbol of freedom and expression around the world.

Badawi, now 38, cannot leave the country for another 10 years unless a royal pardon is given.

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Badawi’s wife, who lives in Canada with the couple’s three children, had earlier tweeted about his release. “After 10 years in prison #Raifisfree !,” she wrote

She had also spoken to Badawi on the phone soon after his release.

“I hope one day to live normally with my children and my husband. He is an open-minded man, he loves freedom, he likes women to be independent,” Haidar said last week.

When the court sentenced Badawi to 10 years of prison in 2014, it had also sentenced 50 lashes in 20 weeks. Badawi received his first whipping of 50 lashes on January 25.

This was met with international uproar terming it as cruel and inhuman after which the whipping was removed.

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