NEWS

Raif Badawi flogging: Coderre says Harper should intervene

02/23/2015 02:19 EST | Updated 04/25/2015 05:59 EDT
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says Prime Minister Stephen Harper should intervene directly in the case of Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for criticizing Islam online.

Coderre met with Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar before introducing a motion at city hall in Montreal on Monday afternoon condemning the flogging.

He called for Badawi to be released and reunited with his wife and three children in Sherbrooke, Que.

"Pressure from Canada and a phone call from the prime minister could make a big difference," said Coderre.

Coderre said the fact that Badawi is not a Canadian citizen doesn't mean Canada can't do something to help him.

"I'm a former immigration minister. I believe in reuniting families," he said.

He urged members of federal opposition parties to question the new minister of foreign affairs, Rob Nicholson, about the case during question period in the House of Commons.

Badawi is currently in jail in Saudi Arabia, serving a 10-year sentence for crimes related to criticizing Islam on an internet blog.

He was also sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes, to be delivered in weekly batches of 50.

He was flogged for the first time on Jan. 9. However, the next six flogging sessions were postponed.  

The motion at Montreal city hall comes after the Feb. 11 motion passed unanimously in Quebec's National Assembly calling on the governments of Quebec and Canada to do everything possible to secure Badawi’s freedom.

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