Hundreds of activists and Human rights groups have gathered outside the Saudi embassy in London, demanding the release of Raif Badawi and his jailed lawyer.
They are handing over a petition signed by 250,000 people, calling for the release of the jailed activist and blogger in Saudi Arabia
Marking one year since the 31-year-old was lashed 50 times in a public square in Jeddah, protesters will also hand over a separate petition demanding the release of his lawyer, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for attempting to set up a human rights monitoring website.
In 2014, a Saudi court imprisoned Badawi for 10 years for “insulting Islam” and setting up a liberal web forum.
He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000, £133,000).
Human rights organization Amnesty International, leading the protest vigil on Friday, is urging the Saudi government to release the writer, who was awarded the EU’s Sakharov prize last October.
— AmnestyUrgentActions (@AmnestyUKUrgent) January 8, 2016
The group has criticized Prime Minister David Cameron for responding inadequately, as Saudi Arabia is now taking a tougher line on dissent under King Salman, who came to the throne last year after the death of King Abdullah.
“Since the brutal flogging of Raif Badawi a year ago there’s been an intensified crackdown in Saudi Arabia,” Amnesty UK’s director Kate Allen told the Guardian.
“We’re again calling on the Saudi authorities to release Raif Badawi and his jailed lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, and we’d like to see the UK government speaking out far more forcefully over Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record.”
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