. . . the facade . . . a 'friend' of the USA? . . .
". . . “It’s a life of waiting,” said Ensaf Haidar, whose husband, Raif Badawi, a blogger who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for almost four years. . . lives in exile in Canada with their three young children . . . is in Washington this week, meeting with members of Congress and officials at the State Department trying to persuade the U.S. government to put more effort into seeking her husband’s release. . . Badawi . . . was sentenced in 2014 to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes, along with a fine of more than $250,000, for criticizing Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious and political leaders on his Saudi Liberal Network Web site. “He is just a blogger,” said Haidar . . . a tiny woman whose speech is careful and contained, and without any trace of anger. “He has been away from his kids and his family for four years, and there is no valid reason for that. He’s just a very peaceful writer.” Badawi received the first 50 of his lashes in January in a public square outside a mosque in the port city of Jiddah. A video posted on YouTube showed him standing silently as a police officer struck his back and legs with a wooden cane and onlookers cheered “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great.” Saudi officials said the lashings would continue, 50 every Friday for the following 19 weeks. . . Saudi officials have told rights groups to back off. Some, including Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, the former longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States, have criticized “outside interference” by rights groups and the media in the Badawi case. . . "
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