Pence calls on Saudi Arabia to release critic of Islam

download (7)Source: Reuters

BY Lesley WroughtonDavid Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called out ally Saudi Arabia for the suppression of religious liberties and urged it to release Raif Badawi, a blogger imprisoned for insulting Islam.

Addressing a conference on religious freedom at the State Department, Pence highlighted the detention of religious dissidents in Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

“All four of these men have stood strong in defense of religious liberty, despite unimaginable pressure, and the American people stand with them,” Pence said, “The United States calls upon the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the freedom of conscience and let these men go.”

The highlighting by Pence of the treatment of Badawi comes as U.S. lawmakers have accused the Trump administration for failing to act against the kingdom’s leaders for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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