Saudi Arabia has retaliated against Canada's criticism of its human rights record by expelling the Canadian ambassador and pulling its own envoy.
The case of the imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, who was awarded the European Union's top human rights award this month, was just one of many that made headlines in 2015 and provoked a debate about the importance of free speech.
Raif Badawi — the Saudi blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam” — began a hunger strike after being transferred to an isolated detention facility.
Badawi was chosen from among nominees including murdered Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, political prisoners in Venezuela, and Edna Adan Ismail, a Somali activist who campaigns against FGM.
Wales addresses security and encryption at London’s IP Expo.
VICE met the wife of Raif Badawi, a blogger from Saudi Arabia sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes. We discussed her family's refuge in Quebec and the effort of the Canadian government to secure his release.
Amnesty International, which helped publish “1,000 Lashes” and organized the book launch in Montreal this week, has been advocating for Badawi's release. Saudi Arabia has denounced the foreign "meddling".
A spokesperson for the imprisoned activist's family told VICE News they were "devastated," and scared his health problems meant he wouldn't be able to handle another round of lashes.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court ignored international pressure to overturn the harsh sentence against Raif Badawi, who has been imprisoned since 2012 on charges of insulting Islam.
With 85 people already executed in 2015 alone, a job ad posted on the country's Ministry of Civil Service website is calling for extra staff to fulfill eight executioner positions.
Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 public lashes after setting up an online forum where Saudis could discuss religion. He might now face a retrial and execution by beheading.