Saudi Arabia is to review the punishment of online activist Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for advocating free speech.

According to the BBC, the Saudi king is to refer Badawi's case to the Supreme Court.

The announcement came after thousands joined protests in solidarity with Badawi in several countries and prominent politicians publicly condemned his sentence.

Badawi was publicly flogged 50 times after prayers last Friday (9 January) and was set to be lashed every week for the next 19 weeks until the punishment is complete.

The second flogging session, due to take place today (16 January), was postponed after a doctor concluded he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes as the wounds sustained during the previous beating "had not yet healed properly".