For the 34th Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN Canada members and friends were invited to write and share letters to jailed writers. Katherine Govier, author of The Ghost Brush and Creation, wrote this note to Saudi Arabian blogger and author, Raif Badawi, who is serving a 10 year prison sentence and facing 1000 lashes. Read more letters to imprisoned writers here.
I am writing you to say I think of you often, I wish you strength, which you obviously have in abundance, but which you must need every minute of every day, and I thank you for what you are doing for freedom of speech. I hope you know that you are not forgotten and that your suffering is not in vain. Congratulations on being the European Laureate. I hope you continue to be as well as possible and look forward to the day you will be free, and united with your wife in Canada.
Truly sending you courage, and with admiration,
Saudi Arabian editor and blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (over US$260,000) on charges of ‘insulting Islam’ and ‘founding a liberal website.’ He was also banned from travel and from participating in the media for 10 years after his release. On 9 January 2015, Badawi received the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes. Subsequent rounds of punishment have been postponed on medical grounds.