has been awarded the Sakharan Prize, named for the Russian nuclear physicist who became a human rights activist. If Saudi Arabia, a petrostate on the brink because of lowered oil prices that might not economically be able to survive the next ten years because they can not produce wheat in their climate and they can not eat oil, wanted to show goodwill to the outside world, the kind they don't get from killing Yemeni civilians, why, I think it might be very nice of them to consider pardoning Raif Badawi.
It would be only a start. But it would be a noble start. Continuing to punish Badawi is not a proof of the strength of Saudi Arabia, but of its weakness. They punish bloggers because they are not strong enough to deal with what questions are raised, or what activists might be aroused. Reacting to the individual who points this out and not the questions he raises, is a sure sign of a failure to be communicated to. This should hand SA its Royal Ass eventually. But for now, were they just to let Badawi go, they might at least earn a little good will from one of their sometime allies?
How do they not see this gesture as a positive one? Free Raif! You have nothing to lose but some of your horrible human rights reputation!