Protesters held a vigil outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in London for dissident blogger Raif Badawi, who was imprisoned for ten years and sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.

A petition with 250,000 signatures calling for Badawi's release was handed over by Amnesty International director Kate Allen, along with a separate petition calling for the release of Badawi's lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair.

The vigil marked the anniversary of the first 50 lashes Badawi received in a public square in Jeddah.

Human rights groups around the world have called for Badawi's release. In October, he was awarded the EU's Sakharov prize, which is awarded to those who have "dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought".

The news of the award received a standing ovation when announced at the European Parliament.

Badawi was sentenced after creating the website Free Saudi Liberals as a forum for social debate.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, was forced to flee the country with their three children after receiving death threats.