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Canadian wife of jailed Saudi blogger says she hasn't heard from him in a month

Last Updated Feb 14, 2020 at 4:33 pm MST

Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raif Badawi, stands next to a poster of a book of articles written by the imprisoned Saudi blogger, in Montreal, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Haidar, a Canadian citizen who lives in Sherbrooke, Que., says through her Twitter account that the last time she heard from Badawi was on Jan. 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

SHERBROOKE, Que. — The wife of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi says she hasn’t heard from her husband in a month.

Ensaf Haidar, a Canadian citizen who lives in Sherbrooke, Que., says through her Twitter account that the last time she heard from Badawi was on Jan. 14.

She says it’s the first time in eight years of imprisonment that Badawi has gone this long without contacting her and her three children, and she says her own attempts to call the jail have been unsuccessful.

Badawi was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in jail, 1,000 lashes and a hefty fine for writings critical of Saudi Arabian clerics.

A first session of floggings was held in 2015 and none has occurred since.

Late last month, human rights lawyer and former Liberal MP Irwin Cotler said he feared for Badawi’s safety after he started a hunger strike in detention. Cotler wrote a letter to the United Nations asking it to intervene.

Badawi’s sentence has drawn widespread international condemnation, and human rights groups have called on successive federal governments to do more to free him.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press