Raif Badawi’s wife asked that he be granted Canadian citizenship to enhance his chances of being freed from jail in Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi’s wife asked that he be granted Canadian citizenship to enhance his chances of being freed from jail in Saudi Arabia.
Photo Credit: Christian Lutz/AP Photo

Canada won’t grant citizenship to jailed blogger


Saudi blogger Raif Badawi will not be granted Canadian citizenship, reports the Globe and Mail newspaper, because Canada’s foreign affairs minister does not believe that would help free him from a prison in Saudi Arabia. Minister Stephane Dion told the paper Saudia Arabia does not recognize dual citizenship so Canadian citizenship might not help, but he added that if Badawi is freed he will be given sanctuary in Canada.

Protesters rallied outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Ottawa on November 2, 2015, to demand the release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.
Protesters rallied outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Ottawa on November 2, 2015, to demand the release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. © Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

Blogger’s wife lobbied hard

Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted asylum last year and now live in Sherbrooke, in the province of Quebec. She has lobbied hard for her husband’s release and had asked that he be granted Canadian citizenship as a way to help free him.

Badawi was charged with blasphemy and was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison. He was given a first round of 50 lashes, but has received no more. He is said to have high blood pressure and Haidar says she has had no news of him since he was moved to a new prison.

Newspaper notes Saudi arms deal

Haidar had met with Justin Trudeau last year, just before he was elected prime minister and formed a new government. She may have hoped the change in government would change her husband’s circumstances, but that appears to not be the case.

The Globe and Mail says that granting Badawi Canadian citizenship “could complicate Canada’s relations with Saudi Arabia and jeopardize a $15-billion deal to sell weaponized armoured vehicles to Riyadh.” The newspaper has been highly critical that the new government has not cancelled the sale in light of Saudi Arabia’s bad human rights record.

Categories: Immigration & Refugees, International, Politics, Society
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