A Saudi Arabian man starts a website for freethought and political debate. He’s arrested, threatened with the death penalty, tried for apostasy, and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. An international effort to secure his release has so far been unsuccessful.
A Saudi Arabian man suspects his five year old daughter of losing her virginity. He forces her to get an examination, then brings her home, where he repeatedly rapes her, and beats her to death with a cane and cables. He crushed her skull, broke her back, ribs and left arm, and burned her in several places. The Saudi royal family prevents him from being released after only a few months in jail and a fine, and a court eventually sentences him to 8 years in prison and 800 lashes. However, he pays her mother blood money ($270,000 – a boy would have been worth double that price), and is released after only a couple of years.One of these things is not like the other. Not even remotely. One of these things is a bit of mild criticism of a repressive society, the other is the horrific violation and murder of a child. I know who should be in prison facing the lash. It isn’t Raif.
There’s something deeply broken about a society that tries to murder its freethinkers, but lets fathers who rape and murder their children walk free if they’ve got some cash. Our society is pretty fucking far from okay, but at least we don’t have our priorities quite this screwed up. What a sad, desperately low bar that is…
You can help put the pressure on Saudi Arabia. I doubt there’s anything we can do for Lama, the little girl who was murdered, but we can still safe Raif’s life. He’s diabetic, and probably won’t survive 1000 lashes. Demand Raif’s freedom. Sign the Amnesty International petition. Tweet under the hashtag #FreeRaif. Share his son’s photo.
Find out if there’s a protest you can attend. Enough worldwide pressure may win his freedom. Enough worldwide censure may make Saudi Arabia rethink its priorities when it comes to imprisoning people. Let’s hope they realize it’s better to free their thinkers and imprison their rapists and murderers rather than the reverse.