06/07/2015 09:04 EDT | Updated 06/07/2016 05:59 EDT

Raif Badawi prison sentence, lashes upheld by Saudi court

The wife of a liberal blogger jailed in Saudi Arabia said it's hard to have hope after the country's Supreme Court upheld the verdict against him. 

"I've kept my hope but today is really a difficult day," said Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raif Badawi, who now lives in Sherbrooke, Que., with the couple's three children after they escaped from Saudi Arabia.

Last year, Badawi was found guilty of insulting Islamic values," "promoting liberal thought" and "going beyond the realm of obedience" by suggesting the kingdom should become more democratic.

Badawi was sentenced last year to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison. He was banned from traveling abroad for 10 years and fined $266,000.

Because 1,000 lashes at once would likely be fatal, Saudi judges decreed that Badawi is to be whipped in instalments of 50 lashes each for 20 weeks.

Haidar said she was told her husband's lashing would start again next Friday.

The Supreme Court's decision is final and cannot be overturned without a royal pardon.

Badawi's flogging has been criticized internationally by human rights groups and Western governments.