January 8, 2015 - Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:
“I am greatly concerned by reports that Saudi human rights activist Raif Badawi will tomorrow begin facing a punishment of 1,000 lashes, along with a 10-year prison sentence, for exercising his right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
“The public flogging outside a mosque in Jeddah each week for 20 weeks, with 50 lashes administered on each occasion, is a gross violation of human dignity, which I strongly denounce.
“Canada strongly upholds the fundamental freedoms of freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of association, among other inalienable human rights, as a basis on which society is established, thrives and progresses.
“The punishment being administered to Mr. Badawi is inhumane and is unbecoming of a society which seeks to advance itself within the family of nations. Such advancement must be predicated on respect for freedom of religion and other fundamental human rights. May clemency and mercy be shown in this case.”
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