Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, a 30-year-old writer, activist and creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, received the first 50 lashes of a 1,000-lash sentence in a public demonstration in the coastal city of Jeddah after evening prayers on Friday. His crime? Criticizing Saudi Arabia's powerful religious clerics.
Badawi was also charged with apostasy which carries the death penalty. In a show of "leniency", this charge was later dropped.
After appealing the conviction, Badawi was re-sentenced — to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison, as well as a $267,000 fine. According to witnesses, Badawi remained silent as he was flogged. He is scheduled to face the same 50-lash sentence every Friday for the next six months.