Liberal Party of Canada statement on Raif Badawi re-trial

MONTREAL – Liberal Foreign Affairs critic, Marc Garneau, today issued the following statement on news that Saudi Arabian blogger, Raif Badawi, may have his case retried by Saudi authorities:

“On Sunday, we learned that free speech advocate, Raif Badawi, may be retried for apostasy, an offence he was cleared of in 2013. If found guilty, Mr. Badawi, who has already been sentenced to a decade in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a $300,000 fine for insulting Islam, would face the death penalty.

“Liberals have been vocal in our condemnation of Mr. Badawi’s inhumane treatment, and we have urged the Saudi Arabian government to reconsider its stance on Mr. Badawi, whose only crime was to peacefully exercise his freedom of speech and his support for freedom of religion.

“Unfortunately, the Conservative government’s response has been sorely lacking. In fact, our new Foreign Affairs Minister, Rob Nicholson, has been entirely silent on this case.

“The government must act immediately to secure Mr. Badawi’s release. We call upon Minister Nicholson to demand in the most forceful manner that His Majesty King Salman pardon Raif Badawi, and allow him to return to Canada so that he may be reunited with his family.”