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WASHINGTON – Amnesty International USA is urging members of Congress and the White House to press for human rights reform in Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah.

“It is worth remembering that as a perceived reformist, King Abdullah had promised to make strides on women's rights and the justice system. He did initiate some judicial reforms and he attempted to codify laws,” wrote Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“However Saudi Arabia's human rights record remains dire, and the negatives continue to outweigh the positives. The sentencing of blogger Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes is but one example.”

Amnesty International has called on the Saudi government to lift the sentence against Badawi, who received the first 50 of 1000 lashes two weeks ago and could face more at any moment.

More information on Badawi’s case can be found at: www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/saudi-arabia-doctors-find-raif-badawi-unfit-for-flogging-on-health-grounds-second-week-in-a-row