Now that the Saudi Supreme Court has upheld Raif Badawi‘s punishment of 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison, and a 1,000,000 Saudi riyal fine (about $266,000) for the crime of “insulting” Islam, there’s a looming question of what, if anything, can be done to rescue him.
On Friday, his flogging was delayed (yet again, thank goodness) for some unknown reason. But until he’s freed entirely, there’s still reason to worry.
In the meantime, I’m happy to say that the government of Quebec has now taken the necessary steps to bring Badawi to their country:
The Quebec government has granted imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi a selection certificate, a first step meant to speed up his immigration process.
“Quebec is behind Raif Badawi,” said Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, who used a special discretionary power to grant the certificate.
The location isn’t random; Badawi’s family — a wife and three children — currently live in the province. And Sean McGuire points out that the bipartisan support we’re seeing in this case is very unusual (emphasis his):
Like their vote in support of Badawi back in February, today’s motion went through with unanimous agreement across all parties. Listen, in highly political Quebec, you never see that sort of agreement between the parties.
So Quebec is all set to accept Badawi… but only if he can get out of Saudi Arabia. Right now, the leaders there are showing no sign of releasing him, despite the international pressure.
Let’s hope that pressure continues because it may be the reason the floggings keep getting pushed back. Perhaps it could be enough to persuade them to let Badawi go, considering he never did anything wrong in the first place.