SUPPORTERS in Weymouth joined those around the world this evening to campaign for the release of a Saudi Arabian writer and activist whose public flogging has sparked global outrage.
A candlelit vigil for Raif Badawi was held outside Weymouth Pavilion.
The gathering, attending by a number of concerned individuals including Labour Party members, was organised by local solicitor Elaine Walker who heard about the vigil in London and wanted to organise something locally.
Events are being held in London, Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh and other towns and cities in the UK and throughout the world tonight and tomorrow.
Campaigners are calling on authorities in Saudi Arabia to end the flogging and release 31-year-old Mr Badawi.
Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes, to be administered severely, for offences related to his setting up of a website called the Saudi Arabian Liberals.
He was ordered to receive 50 lashes every Friday, in public after prayers. He received the first 50 lashes two weeks ago. Last Friday’s flogging was called off because he had not recovered sufficiently from his wounds.
The flogging due to take place tomorrow is also set to be postponed on health grounds.
The decision to refer his case to the Supreme Court was made before the first flogging and there has been no change to his sentence.
Elaine Walker said: “Raif Badawi set up a website to try to encourage social and political debate.
“His sentence of ten years’ imprisonment and 50 lashes every Friday for 20 weeks is barbaric and inhumane.
“Whilst it is a relief that the flogging has been postponed, the reasons for this underline the barbarity of the sentence.
“Raif Badawi’s wounds from the first flogging have to heal enough for them to be re-opened with another 50 lashes, and this is to be repeated again and again.
“I am sure that most of the people of this town will be horrified at what has been done to this young man.”