For a second time, Saudi Arabia has postponed the planned flogging of a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for criticizing the country's clerics, Amnesty International announced Thursday.
"The planned flogging of Raif Badawi will be suspended this Friday after a medical committee assessed that he should not undergo a second round of lashes on health grounds,” the organization said in a statement, according to Sky News.
"The committee, comprised of around eight doctors, carried out a series of tests on Raif Badawi at the King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah yesterday and recommended that the flogging should not be carried out.”
The 30-year-old was lashed 50 times outside a mosque in the city of Jeddah on January 9 and is expected to face 20 flogging sessions total. But last Friday, his wife said the second round was postponed.
“I feel destroyed. But I don’t want to sit in a corner and cry,” his wife, Ensaf Haidar, told The Guardian. “That would be letting Raif and my children down.”
Thursday’s announcement came after a high-powered group of U.S. senators demanded that Saudi Arabia cancel the "barbaric punishment" and called for Badawi’s release.
"At a time that the world is wrestling with and mourning violence committed in the name of religious intolerance, such an example of state-sanctioned violence against peaceful religious dialogue is highly troubling and helps legitimize the extremist view that violence is a justified response to the free exercise of speech and religion," the senators wrote.
In May, Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and forced for pay a $266,000 fine for criticizing Saudi Arabia’s clerics and morality police in articles he writes for a blog.