EU protests jail term, flogging sentence against Saudi activist blogger; backs free speech

The European Union is protesting Saudi Arabia's confirmation of a verdict against a liberal blogger who was publicly flogged, calling corporal punishment "unacceptable and contrary to human dignity."

The Saudi Supreme Court's decision to uphold the sentence of Raif Badawi, a 31-year-old father who was lashed in January in a public square, is final and cannot be overturned without a royal pardon.

The EU said in a statement on Monday that it will make "every effort" to convince Saudi authorities to respect freedom of speech.

Badawi, imprisoned since 2012, initially was sentenced on appeal to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for breaking Saudi Arabia's technology laws and insulting Islamic religious figures through a blog that he created.