February 26, 2021

Canadian lawmakers grant citizenship to Saudi blogger Badawi | Middle East News

Badawi, a human rights activist, is in jail in Saudi Arabia for his free speech and blogging about ‘insulting Islam’.

Members of the House of Commons of Canada have decided to grant citizenship to Saudi blogger Rife Badawi, who has been imprisoned in his home country for nine years, with his wife and three children living in Canada.

The motion, which was unanimously voted on Wednesday, calls on Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino to use his “choice” to grant Canadian citizenship to Badawi in order to address a specific situation and extraordinary tragedy.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, after which he was sentenced to 10 years and 1,000 lashes in 2014 for free speech and blogging “insulting Islam.”

In January 2015 he received 50 beats, but the remaining sessions, which were to be held weekly, were suspended after a global outcry.

It was the highest incidence of beatings in the kingdom of Batawi, before the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia abolished beatings as a form of corporal punishment in late April.

The following year the European Parliament presented the Blogger with the Sakarov Human Rights Prize. He is currently serving a prison sentence.

Enzaf Haider, the wife of imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Rife Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband in Strasbourg, France, as he receives a Sakarov gift. [File: Christian Lutz/AP Photo]

“It simply came to our notice then. [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and Minister Marco Mendicino must act, ”said Yves-Franோois Blanchett, leader of the separatist Black Quebecois party and a supporter of the bill.

“Every day is calculated for Badawi,” “his health is constantly in danger in prison,” Blanchett said in a statement.

Translation: After all, there are days when we are proud to be in politics for the right reasons. I can only imagine the reception, after so many obstacles that I knew Quebec would give to Rif Badawi when he arrived in Quebec. We are there for him and for the right reasons.

The news was happily welcomed by the wife of human rights activist Enzaf Haider. “What a message! Rife will be so happy! It gives me hope, ”she said on Twitter, thanking lawmakers for remembering her husband’s case.

Relations between Ottawa and Riyadh deteriorated in 2018 when the Canadian government called for the release of Saudi human rights activists, including Badawi’s sister, Samar Badawi.

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Badawi’s wife and three children, who live in Quebec, are already Canadian citizens.