Saudi activist’s daughter denied meeting: ‘We can’t discuss his case’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Raif Badawi is on death row in Saudi Arabia The daughter of a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights activist has told the BBC she was invited to an…

Saudi activist's daughter denied meeting: 'We can't discuss his case'

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Raif Badawi is on death row in Saudi Arabia

The daughter of a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights activist has told the BBC she was invited to an embassy in Istanbul and asked to join a ”re-arrangement of issues”.

Raif Badawi, a blogger imprisoned for posting articles deemed insulting to Islam, has been jailed for seven years and 1000 lashes.

His wife Ensaf Haidar said the embassy had invited Nazanin Zinouri to visit to ”coordinate a suitable time” to come.

The Saudi embassy in London denied the claims.

Nazanin Zinouri said the invitation was made in early April, two days after Mr Badawi’s latest stinging stoning sentence was handed down by a Saudi court.

She said it came from her father’s lawyer, who had come to her house in Turkey during a visit with Mr Badawi.

“I was at my dad’s house, it was very close to the embassy, it was not far from the embassy, and there was my lawyer, an embassy official,” she told the BBC’s The World Programme.

Mr Badawi, who has long campaigned for his fellow citizens’ rights in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes.

He was also ordered to pay the equivalent of $550,000 (£360,000) in damages, plus an investigation cost of $27,000.

Ms Zinouri said that she did not “know anything about father-daughter meetings” as such, but told her father’s lawyer that Mr Badawi would like to speak to her.

“He asked me if I would visit him, if I’d be interested in talking about his case, and about what had happened in the past several months, since he had been on a hunger strike, and during his punishment,” she said.

“I was not willing to come, as it was not allowed to be done, and I told him I had a relationship with my father, and that I would not arrange anything for him, which was right and nothing personal about him.”

Ms Zinouri said her father told her not to go, and that “he would try to persuade her to come” by appealing to his “brothers in power, and trying to find a suitable time and location”.

The ambassador said the embassy did not comment on personal contacts.

“We are not able to discuss cases involving foreign nationals or family members. We always pay attention to the rights of citizens from other countries living in our country,” he said.

The Saudi ambassador to the UK is already facing questions about Mr Badawi, with MPs demanding to know if he had intervened to protect him before the sentences were handed down.

Earlier this month, the committee of the UK parliament called for an urgent inquiry into the case.

Topics: human, religion-and-beliefs, government-and-politics, world-politics, rights, law-crime-and-justice, turkey, saudi-arabia

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