Dette er den engelske versjonen av Aftenpostens intervju med Ensaf Haidar. Les hele saken og få bakgrunnsinformasjon her:
— I’m the wife of Raif Badawi, the prisoner of conscience. We have three kids, to girls and one boy, and right now we’re living in Canada.
- What happended on the day, back in 2012, when your husband was arrested?
— The day Raif was arrested, I was in Lebanon. I felt that something was wrong, because he used to call me three times a day, but on that day he didn’t call. So I started worrying, and tried calling him. He had two phone numbers, and I tried reaching them both. I called like a hundred times, but no answer. At the end of the day a police officer answered me. He said «Yes? You are bothering us. What do you want? You are annoying us.» And then he just hang the phone on me, without any explanation. I tried calling friends of me and Raif, and they confirmed that he had been detained. It took two weeks from that for him to call me in person.
— How was it, to speak with your husband after two weeks? - I can’t tell, it was just a mixed feeling. It was fear, it was worry, I was away from him in another country. But at the same time, I was happy – it was his voice. But then again. It was fear of what would happen to him. And we still live in fear today.
- Let’s go back. Badawi set up the website Free Saudi Liberals. Why did he do that? Didn't he know what could happen?
— Raif set up the site to make a room for people to have an open debate, on ideas, on freedom of religion and on freedom of expression. The idea was not to protest, he never meant to be against the state of Saudi Arabia, or against religion or Islam. He was merely against the religious police who are abusing the system and are abusing Islam by issuing fatwas whenever they want. The site was basically ment as an open space for promoting freedom of thought.
- Mr. Badawi has since been a prisoner of conscience. How many are thre in his situation?
— I don’t have any data before me, but I know the number has increased recently. One of them is Waleed Abu al-Khair, who is the lawyer of Raif, and his brother in law.
- Has the number of detentions increased under the new king, Salman?
— I’d rather not go into details on the rule or the policies of the new king.
- Is that because it’s dangerous for you to do so?
— There is no direct threat or danger in doing this, but I don’t think that it will serve Raif’s case. To go beyond the king or the authorities policies will not be an advantage for me or for Raif, since they probably will interpret it the worst way possible. So I choose not to. - You and Badawi have been, or are, activists. Seeing where this has brought him, was it worth it?
— No, I’m not an activist. Raif is the activist. I became an activist after he was detained, and only for him to be released. When he is free, I will stop campaigning. I’m just a wife, calling for her husband’s case to be heard.
- What would you say if your children came to you and told you that they wanted to become activists?
— My son wants to be like his father. I don’t have a big say in that. We live in a liberal country, with not much violations taking place, so I won’t influence on his decision. It’s up to him.
- Your husband has now been in prison for two years. How is his health condition? Has he has faced any torture or ill-treatment beside the 50 floggings he recieved?
— At the end of the day, it’s prison, so he’s not feeling well at all. As far as I know, the flogging was stopped because of his health condition. That was after eight doctors checked on him and said that it had to stop. It’s a very difficult situation, and unfortuneately really it’s hard to describe, since I’m given so few details.
- You and I have had a lot of contact through Twitter the last year. You use social media a lot to campaign and inform about Badawi’s case. What does these platforms mean to you?
— I recognize the importance of traditional medias like newspapers and TV, but I owe the biggest thank you to social medias. It’s because of them the cases are worldwide known, it’s through them that people, even governments, are getting in touch with me. And it doesn’t help just Raif, it helps even other prisoners of conscience. No one knew about these cases, but through tweets and shares they are becoming known worldwide.
— How does Badawis, and your, future look right now?
— I don’t want to see a future without Raif. I want him to be here. I’ll never lose hope – the future will be better. That’s all I can say.
— What is your relationship with the Saudi Arabian authorities today? - What do you mean by relationship?
- Do you have any contact with them, do they interfere with your life in Canada in any way?
— I don’t have any direct contact with them today. When I was in Lebanon, I used to receive calls; it’s hard to say for sure that it was the authorities or just other people, with serious threats. They said they were coming for our kids. But today, they do not impose a direct threat to me, nor my children.
- How is everyday life like today?
— Canada is a great place, it’s safe, and I’m happy there with my kids. Still, it’s that same feeling of waiting, of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. This bothers us, and has its weight on our life. Daily, our children ask me: «When will dad be back?» So it’s safe, but so uncertain.
Follow Ensaf Haidar on Twitter: @miss9afi
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