The wife of Raif Badawi hopes to see her husband released

News 11 January, 2018
  • AFP


    Thursday, January 11, 2018 12:37

    Thursday, January 11, 2018 12:44

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    PARIS | The wife of Raif Badawi, a blogger saudi jailed for five years, said “trust” in the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the new strong man from Riyadh, to release soon her husband as a pledge of his willingness to reform.

    “I have confidence in the prince Mohammed bin Salman because the prince enforces the ideas of Raif,” says, in an interview with AFP in Paris, Ensaf Haidar, who has been married for 16 years to Raif Badawi, with whom she had three children.

    “He wants to modernize Saudi Arabia, modernize the shari’a. This means that he also wants to free prisoners of conscience and prisoners of human rights, ” says this native of the region of Jizan, in the south-west of saudi Arabia.

    Her husband, arrested in 2012, was sentenced in 2014 to ten years in prison and 1000 lashes for ” insulting islam “. The site of the blogger is 34 years old and promoted the freedom of expression and the rights of women.

    But in recent months a series of reforms in societal and economic have been announced in this country ultraconservateur, under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman, the permission to drive or attend sporting events for women to the theaters…

    In October, the ” MBS “also promised saudi Arabia to be “moderate” and ” tolerant.”

    Activists of Human rights are more sceptical, stressing that the arrests of dissidents continue in the country where some see MBS a character, authoritarian and impulsive.

    The hope of the wife of the blogger has also a delegation of european parliamentarians. On his return from Riyadh, in November, one of them, Josef Weidenholzer, pointed out that defenders local Human rights felt that Raef could be included on a list of pardons royal.

    “This is what he told me. I don’t know if that’s true, ” said Ensaf Haidar.

    Mr. Weidenholzer could not be reached by AFP. For his part, the former French minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, who led the delegation refused to speak on the subject, pointing to its delicate nature.

    By 2015 already, a head of switzerland had referred to a pardon possible of Raif Badawi.

    “We hope that it is on the list of pardons” this time, told AFP a representative of the Company saudi national for the Rights of Man, while pointing a potential obstacle to his release: his father, in favour of the punishment of her son, and whose approval would be necessary.

    “This problem must be fixed before the forgiveness of royal is granted “, said the official who requested anonymity.

    A moral fluctuating

    Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Québec after having obtained the right of asylum in Canada, and regularly speaks to her husband: she called the prison two or three times per week.

    Their conversations are short, of the order of 15 minutes, and Raif did tell him little the conditions of his detention. His morale? “It depends,” she said. “Keep hope for Raef, it is more difficult. Me, I kept hope because I see the world, the social networks… the governments who speak of Raif “.

    The young woman continued to campaign for him, with his children, 14 -, 13-and 10-year-old who in June had launched, in Canada, a call to the release.

    In 2015, it is in the name of Raif that it had recovered the Sakharov prize of Human rights of the european Parliament in Strasbourg, in eastern France.

    To Paris for a conference on secularism and a ceremony on the rights of women, she hopes to meet with the mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo and the French secretary of State responsible for equality between Women and Men, Marlène Schiappa.

    She has also contacted the services of the president of france Emmanuel Macron, who is to receive the prince in February in Paris.

    What message would the president Macron delivers at prince Mohammed? Appeared hitherto serene and determined, the young woman is visibly moved by the question. Then she resumes: “I would like to ask the prince that he grant his forgiveness to my husband, because my children need their father “. A father they have not seen that photo since five years.