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Saudi Authorities Postpone Flogging of Blogger

Activist and blogger Raif Badawi.

Saudi authorities have postponed the second round of public flogging for a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.

Human rights group Amnesty International said Friday's flogging was postponed after a doctor found that Raif Badawi's wounds had not healed properly from the first flogging last week, and that he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes.

Amnesty said the doctor recommended the flogging be delayed until next week.

Badawi, co-founder of the web site Liberal Saudi Network, was sentenced to 1,000 lashes -- to be carried out in 20 weekly sessions of 50 whippings each until his punishment is complete. He received the first round of 50 lashes in public last Friday.

He also was sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined $266,000 for insulting Islam.

The United Nations and the United States have appealed to Saudi authorities to halt Badawi's punishment.

On Friday, a source close to Badawi's case told Western media the Saudi royal court has referred the case to the Supreme Court, paving the way for a possible appeal.

On Thursday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, said flogging at the very least is a "cruel and inhuman punishment" that is prohibited under international human rights law, in particular the Convention Against Torture.

He said Saudi Arabia has ratified that convention.

Amnesty International said flogging "violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment in international law."

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