Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Supporters of Jailed Saudi Blogger Start Foundation to Promote Free Speech

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Supporters of Jailed Saudi Blogger Start Foundation to Promote Free Speech

Article excerpt

Supporters of jailed blogger start foundation

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MONTREAL - Jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been named president of a new foundation that bears his name and has the goal of promoting freedom of expression worldwide as well as supporting writers and journalists in the Arab world.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and dissident writer Salman Rushdie have been named honorary members, co-founder Evelyne Abitbol told a news conference Friday.

Badawi, 31, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since 2012 for publishing blog posts advocating human rights and democracy in his country.

Ensaf Haidar, Badawi's wife who fled Saudi Arabia in 2012 with their children and settled in Quebec, is the other co-founder. She addressed reporters Friday from Germany by video conference.

The foundation will host seminars and fund research dedicated to promoting freedom of expression, Abitbol said.

She added she wants the organization to "become an open platform in the Arab world" for aspiring writers and journalists. …

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