June 16, 2017 10:55 pm
Updated: June 16, 2017 11:48 pm

5 years in a Saudi prison: Blogger Raif Badawi’s supporters call on Trudeau to do more

WATCH ABOVE: Supporters of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose family resettled in Quebec, staged a protest in Montreal Friday evening marking five years since his detention in Saudi Arabia. As Global’s Gloria Henriquez reports, supporters are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene personally on his behalf.

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There was a renewed show of support Friday afternoon for Canadian blogger Raif Badawi at Mont-Royal metro.

On the month of his five-year anniversary of imprisonment in a Saudi-Arabian jail for allegedly insulting Islam, dozens of Badawi’s supporters chanted together:

“1,2,3,4, Trudeau do more.”

His supporters are calling on Ottawa to step up the fight for Badawi’s release.

“We’re here to say to the government that have played a role so far, yes, thank you but it’s not enough, we need to change the method,” Amnesty International Canada’s Beatrice Vaugrante said.

Badawi has already served half of his 10-year sentence.

He also received 50 out of 1,000 lashes he was sentenced to by the Saudi-Arabian government.

READ MORE: Supporters of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi fear flogging set to resume

His Canadian supporters believe Trudeau needs to personally intervene.

“I think it’s time for the prime minister to pick up the phone, have a good conversation and really demand that Raif Badawi can join his family here in Sherbrooke,” NDP’s foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere said.

Badawi’s supporters accuse the government of not wanting to ruffle any feathers.

“The government should be stepping up and taking a stand and putting human rights first, not commercial or geo-political considerations,” Robert McBryde said.

Canada recently sold $15 billion worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Human rights advocates blast Trudeau on Saudi arms deal

WATCH ABOVE: A message from Raif Badawi’s children to the government. 

A year ago, Badawi’s family met with Trudeau.

Other than a bunch of selfies — and the ensuing political cartoons — nothing more concrete came out of the meeting.

“A year later, well, we’re still waiting for some action from Mr. Trudeau,” illustrator Jacques Goldstyn, also known as Boris, said at the rally while he drew on the street.

We reached out to Global Affairs Canada.

In a statement to Global News, they said:

“We have raised the case of Mr. Badawi at the highest levels, and have repeatedly called for clemency to be granted. We will continue to raise our concerns over his situation both in Riyadh and Ottawa, as the International Development Minister did last month with the Saudi Ambassador to Canada.”

And while the government says it continues to raise concerns, Badawi’s children are being raised without their father.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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