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Saudi Court Orders Prison, Lashes For Website Editor

Website editor Raif Badawi in an undated photo
The editor of a Saudi Arabian social website has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for violating Islamic values.

The "Al-Watan" newspaper reported on July 30 that Raif Badawi, who founded the "Free Saudi Liberals" website, had avoided the death penalty when the judge hearing the case dropped charges of apostasy against Badawi.

Badawi’s site had urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the conservative Muslim kingdom.

"Al-Watan" did not say when the verdict was rendered.

Badawi was taken into custody in June 2012 on charges of cybercrime and disobeying his father.

"Al-Watan" reported the judge also ordered that Badawi’s website be shut down.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was "deeply concerned" about the sentence.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP