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 Arabia's supreme court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years imprisonment for freedom of speech blogger.

Despite international criticism over the punishment, the Saudi foreign ministry issued a statement saying it rejected interference in its internal affairs.

In 2012, Badawi was arrested and charged with "insulting Islam through electronic channels".

He was subsequently charged for content he had posted to the site, including an article published on Valentine's Day 2012 in which he was accused of ridiculing Saudi Arabia's religious police – the Commission on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – as well as failing to remove 'offensive' posts by other contributors.

Raif was arrested in June 2012. In May 2014 he was found guilty of breaking Saudi Arabia's strict technology laws and insulting Islamic religious figures by creating and managing an online forum.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes, a fine of 1 million Saudi Riyal (over $250,000), and prevented from using any kind of media or travelling until 2034.

For four years, Badawi ran the Liberal Saudi Network, which encouraged online debate on religious and political issues, according to a BBC report.

He received his first 50 lashes in January but subsequent floggings have been postponed on medical grounds.

On 9 January, Badawi was handcuffed and shackled by his ankles and flogged in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah.

A security officer walked up to Badawi and began caning him across the back and legs. A witness told Amnesty International that it took five minutes to lash Badawi 50 times.

"Raif told me he is in a lot of pain. He said that when he was being flogged he took the pain silently and rose above it, so that history will know that he did not react to their punishment. His health is poor and he cannot take another round of lashes," said his wife Ensaf Haidar.

A medical committee of around eight doctors carried out a series of tests on Badawi on 21 January at a Jeddah hospital, and found that wounds sustained from the 50 lashes had not healed enough for him to be lashed again without serious risk to his health.

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: "The Kingdom cannot believe and strongly disapproves what has been addressed in some media outlets about the case of Citizen [Badawi] and the judicial sentence he has received."

Allan Hogarth, Amnesty's UK's head of policy and government affairs, responded to these comments by saying: "Saudi Arabia's human rights record is utterly terrible. With a record of publicly beheading scores of people every year, imposing flogging and amputation sentences, banning protests and locking up peaceful activists – Saudi Arabia's supposed 'promotion' of human rights is anything but."