Action Alert

Help save Saudi man imprisoned for secular ideas

Please take action to help a young Saudi man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and torture for daring to be a freethinker in a theocratic kingdom.

Five years ago, writer Raif Badawi was arrested by Saudi Arabian authorities for courageously speaking in favor of secularism, democracy and reason. For this, he was given a barbaric sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes — a punishment that equates to slow, painful execution. Badawi is six years into his sentence. He has so far received 50 lashes, which nearly killed him, and now has 950 left.

Please contact the Saudi Arabian Embassy and the U.S. State Department urging officials to take immediate action by pressuring Saudi Arabian authorities to release Badawi.


Contact the Saudi Arabian Embassy. 

Contact the U.S. State Department. 

Please also share information about this terrible human rights violation on social media by using the hashtag #FreeRaif. You can tweet to the U.S. Department of State at @StateDept and the Saudi Arabian Embassy at @SaudiEmbassyUSA.


Sample email to the U.S. State Department:

As a citizen of the United States, I am calling on the State Department to formally object to the imprisonment of Saudi citizen Raif Badawi for arguing for secular government. Please urge the Saudi Arabian government to release Badawi from prison. This is a horrifying human rights violation and the United States must take action to save Badawi, whose crime was standing up for the ideals of democracy, free speech and secularism.

Sample email to the Saudi Arabia Embassy:

I am writing to urge you to communicate to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the horror felt in the United States over the imprisonment of Saudi Arabian citizen Raif Badawi for voicing his opinions. Please take immediate action and pressure the Saudi Arabian government to overturn the inhuman ruling that will almost certainly slowly execute Badawi for his reasonable ideas. Any action possible must be taken to release Badawi.
(Keep reading for more information about this human rights violation.)


Badawi dismissed the role of Islam in government and public life. An article in The Guardian quotes him saying “No religion at all has any connection to mankind’s civic progress … the codes governing the administration of the state can hardly be derived from religion.” 

Enlightened ideals such as these are an immense threat to theocracy like Saudi Arabia where leaving Islam, or "apostasy," is punishable by death and religious extremists have control of the kingdom's judicial system. It is the judges' duty to preserve the Islamic state, and when a citizen steps out of line, judges crack down with horrifying punishments to protect their vision of God.

Blasphemy laws and the chilling fates for those found guilty of the crime exist not only to punish the blasphemer, but to silence future criticisms of religion. The laws freeze speech and expression of ideas, and enchain the ability of citizens to think freely.

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