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Blogger who called for secular society in Saudi Arabia freed after decade in prison

A blogger who called for Saudi Arabia to become a more secular society has been freed after a decade in prison. 

Raif Badawi, 38, was arrested in 2012 for “insulting Islam” and sentenced to ten years and 1,000 lashes, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

“Raif called me. He is free,” his wife Ensaf Haidar told the AFP. 

One of three children Badawi had with his wife posted on Twitter about his release, saying, “After 10 years my father is free!” 

A Saudi security official also confirmed the news of Badawi’s release to the AFP.

The terms of his conditions for his release are not known, and he could face a 10-year travel ban, limiting his ability to see his family, which lives in Canada. 

Badawi is a winner of the Reporters Without Borders prize for press freedom and has been a symbol of free expression since his arrest. 

Amnesty International told the AFP that it would advocate for any conditions on his release to be dropped if he has been given any.

“Raif Badawi, human rights defender in Saudi Arabia, has finally been released!” Amnesty International said.

“Thousands of you have mobilized alongside us in the defense of Raif Badawi for 10 years. A big thank you to all of you for your tireless support,” the organization added.

Tags activists Amnesty International Badawi Human rights in Saudi Arabia Middle East Raif Badawi Saudi Arabia Secularism in the Middle East
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