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'Saudi Arabia releases jailed blogger Raif Badawi' and warns him not to leave the kingdom

Saudi Arabia releases jailed blogger Raif Badawi and warns him not to leave the kingdom

Riyadh: In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia on Saturday banned Raif Badawi from travelling for a decade.

Badawi, 38, was arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia in 2012 on charges of "insulting Islam." He was released Friday.

"The judge sentenced Raif to 10 years in prison followed by a 10-year travel ban. The verdict stands and it is final," the official said.

"Therefore, he cannot leave the kingdom for another 10 years unless a (royal) pardon is issued," the official added.

In the fall of 2014, Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison and 50 lashes a week for twenty weeks.

It was deemed cruel and inhuman by the UN after his first flogging in Jeddah square. He hasn't been lashed since then.

On Friday, Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada with their three children, told AFP: "Raif called me. He is free."

Saudi security officials confirmed Badawi's release later, but details were not disclosed.

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