Prince Charles pleads for jailed Saudi blogger

Prince Charles with Saudi King Salman yesterday. Picture: AP
Prince Charles with Saudi King Salman yesterday. Picture: AP
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THE Prince of Wales has raised the plight of jailed blogger Raif Badawi with Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman.

Charles had faced calls from Amnesty International UK to use his influence with the royal Saudi family and intervene on behalf of Mr Badawi during his royal visit.

Mr Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison and has received 50 of 1,000 lashes for offences related to setting up a website for Saudi liberals – an online forum for public debate and was also accused of insulting Islam.

After Charles sat down to a lavish lunch with the Arab monarch and hundreds of guests at a palace in Riyadh yesterday a source said: “It is understood the issue was raised by the prince during his meeting with King Salman. “The reaction from the king was not unfriendly.”

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The oil-rich state of Saudi Arabia is a conservative country which has been accused of abusing the human rights of its citizens.

Amnesty International UK has claimed the country has one of the highest rates of execution in the world, the torture and ill treatment of prisoners is common and despite some moves to give women greater freedoms discrimination is rife. Some critics of the Gulf state also claim it has funded terrorist extremists in the region.

Charles, on a six-day tour of the Middle East, has raised concerns about the radicalisation of British Muslims. Amnesty also called on him to raise the plight of foreign workers in Qatar.