Charles praised over blogger plight

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The Prince of Wales’ decision to raise the plight of a jailed Saudi blogger with the country’s new king has been welcomed by a leading human rights group.

Charles had faced calls from Amnesty International UK to use his influence with the Saudi royal family and intervene on behalf of Raif Badawi during his royal visit. And his decision to broach the subject yesterday during his first official meeting with King Salman was praised by the organisation.

Amnesty director Kate Allen said: “This is of course very encouraging and very welcome news.

“We always said we weren’t expecting Prince Charles to give up the red carpets and state banquets and become a human rights campaigner, but we also hoped he’d use his unique position to pass on a few well-chosen words to his royal hosts about human rights in Saudi Arabia.”

Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 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 he was also accused of insulting Islam.

After Charles had talks with the Arab monarch then joined him and hundreds of guests for lunch 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.”

Charles is coming to the end of a six-day tour of the Middle East that has already taken him to Jordan and Kuwait. Tomorrow he will visit Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Later today he will spend his final day in Saudi Arabia visiting the area in and around the ancient settlement of Al Ula, in the north west of the country, which is famed for its historic monuments.

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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