Biopic of jailed Saudi blogger set for silver screen

Biopic of jailed Saudi blogger set for silver screen
The life of human rights' fighter Raif Badawi is set for a cinematic portrayal, which will be narrated by his wife who has constantly campaigned for the Saudi blogger's freedom.
2 min read
09 August, 2016
Badawi's story struck a chord in Europe where demonstrations were held demanding his release [AFP]
A German production company is set to take the story of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to the big screen.

Berlin-based Knudsen & Streuber has optioned the film rights to Badawi's story, the Hollywood Reporter said on Monday.

The film will be narrated by Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar and will be based on a book retelling their struggle, Raif Badawi, the Voice of Freedom: My Husband, Our Story.

While Haider's book brings to light the kingdom's strict religious rulings, the film adaptation will centre around the couple's private life.

"Rarely has a love story moved me as much as Ensaf and Raif's," Producer Tom Streuber said.

"In a strictly regimented daily life that categorically divides two worlds - that of men from that of women - Ensaf and Raif are fighting for a love that transcends every boundary, even those between the two of them... Their private realm ultimately becomes political."

He describes it as a Romeo and Juliet story, only "this time in Saudi Arabia."

Badawi was arrested in 2012 and brought to court on several charges.

He was accused of insulting Islam using electronic channels, and apostasy - which carries an automatic death sentence.

In 2013, Badawi was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes.

He was lashed 50 times and his blog was shut down.

In 2015 his sentence was extended to ten years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes.

Born in 1984, Bedawi is married to Haidar and they have three children. His family are currently living in Canada, where they moved after receiving death threats.

He was first detained on apostasy charge in 2008, and later banned from leaving the country in 2009.

In 2012, Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience and in 2015 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

His story struck a chord in Europe, where many demonstrations were held demanding an immediate end to his detention.