Raif Badawi is a Saudi Arabian blogger who has been sentenced to one thousand lashings that are to be carried over the course of nineteen weeks. In addition, he has received a ten year prison sentence. His “crime” was exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly. Amnesty International is focusing on Raif’s case, and trying to encourage Andover High students to help raise awareness. On February 27, Amnesty International hosted a photoshoot in the foyer. Each student or teacher who participated held a #FREERAIF sign in attempt to bring publicity to the cause. Club leader Amrutha Palaniyappan stated:
“We got over 200 people to participate, so I would say the club was pretty thrilled with the outcome. The best part though was when Raif Badawi’s wife commented on one of our photo’s thanking us for helping her husband.”
The magnitude of this movement has already begun to make a difference. Raif has not been lashed for nearly a month and his verdict continues to be postponed. Whether this is a direct result of the campaign is something that can only be speculated. However, there is no reason to not continue the campaign. Amnesty International is beyond thrilled with their results and hopes to continue the movement to release Raif.
Amnesty has a website where you can view photos from the shoot and any other upcoming events at http://andoveraic.weebly.com.
By Rhea Singh