Raif Badawi Saudi Editor lashes
Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for promoting public debate on his website.Twitter

Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi is not going to be publicly flogged 50 times this week, Amnesty International has said.

The announcement comes as hundreds of people worldwide have been organising marches in solidarity with Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for advocating free speech on his Saudi Arabian Liberals blog.

At the beginning of January, a Saudi Arabian court ruled that Badawi will be publicly lashed 50 times a week for 20 weeks. The first round of flogging took place on 9 January and he was set to be lashed again the following Friday.

However, the corporal punishment has been halted as doctors concluded Badawi's health had deteriorated and he was not able to stand another round of flogging.

It is not yet clear why the flogging was postponed this time.

A medical expert from from the charity Freedom from Torture warned in a report commissioned by Amnesty that more lashes are likely to cause permanent damage.

Dr Juliet Cohen, head of doctors at Freedom from Torture, explained: "When the cane strikes, the blood is forced from the tissues beneath... Damage to the small blood vessels and individual cells causes leakage of blood and tissue fluid into the skin and underlying tissue, increasing the tension in these areas.

Amnesty, which has been campaigning worldwide for the release of Badawi, is urging Saudi Arabia to stop the flogging.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, director of Amnesty UK Kate Allen said: "The world should be shocked and horrified by what's happening in Saudi Arabia.

"The flogging is going to happen as long as Badawi's health holds up. We are campaigning worldwide, to have this flogging stopped and to have him freed from prison. Because he is a prisoner of conscience."

Amnesty International holds vigil for activist Raif BadawiIBTimes UK