Saudi 'prisoner of conscience' ordered to pay $270,000 fine

Saudi 'prisoner of conscience' ordered to pay $270,000 fine
Jailed Saudi human rights activist Raif Badawi has been ordered to pay $270,000 fine on Monday, as human rights workers continue to fight for the blogger's freedom.
1 min read
20 March, 2017
The blogger was imprisoned in 2012 [Getty]

Saudi authorities confirmed the verdict against Saudi blogger Raif Badawi on Monday, demanding the activist pay a one million riyal fine ($270,000) for allegedly insulting Islam.

Badawi has been jailed for five years but the latest and rare development was posted on the blogger's official Twitter account on Monday.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 and brought to court on charges of insulting Islam and apostasy - which carries an automatic death sentence.

In 2013, he was sentenced to seven-years in prison and 600 lashes, of which he received 50 in the first round of public flogging.

Supporters say the sentence is politically-motivated due to Badawi's criticism of conservative sections of Saudi society.

His sentence was extended to ten years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes in 2015.

His blog, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum, was shut down following his arrest.

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

Badawi has been given several international awards, including the Courage Award 2015 from the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, and the European Union's prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights.