The Saudi Arabian government has responded with fury to suggestions that its jailing and vicious punishment of a liberal activist was in any way unjustified.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Western critiques of its policies were attempts to undermine its sovereignty by pretending to care about human rights.
Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger/activist who created the website Free Saudi Liberals was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a million riyal ($267,000) fine for “insulting Islam.” Many Western governments, NGOs, and activist groups have condemned Badawi’s punishment as unjustified.
“The Kingdom cannot believe and strongly disapproves what has been addressed in some media outlets about the case of Citizen [Badawi] and the judicial sentence he has received,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been one of the first States to promote and support human rights. Though these commitments are more than obvious, some international quarters and some media, regrettably, have emptied human rights of their sublime meanings,” the note added. “Instead, such quarters and media deviated towards politicising and abusing those rights to serve aggressions against the right of States to sovereignty. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will most certainly disallow such matter.”
Recently, A Saudi man was sentenced to death for ripping up a Koran and cursing Islam’s Muhammad. In late February, The Saudi Gazette reported that the “death sentence was issued after his apostasy was proven.”
Under the Koranic Sharia law governing system, acting in any matter that can be interpreted as insulting Islam should appropriately be punishable by death.