The wife of a Saudi blogger whose imprisonment and public lashing provoked an international outcry has expressed concern about his psychological health.

"My husband is not well," Ensaf Haidar said. "His health is poor. His mental condition is not good."

Haidar was in Berlin for Friday's awarding of a prize recognising courageous journalists that is named after her husband, Raif Badawi.

The 31-year-old father of three was convicted of insulting Islam over material on an internet forum that he created to encourage public debate. He was arrested more than three years ago for criticising the Saudi religious police and sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes.


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He received the first 50 lashes in January but the flogging was then suspended, officially on health grounds but also following an international outcry.

Haidar, who lives in Canada with her children, said her husband has high blood pressure and his lashings could resume at any time.

The first Raif Badawi Prize will be awarded to Moroccan journalist Ali Anouzla who is known for his articles critical of King Mohammed VI's rule.

Badawi himself was awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought at the end of October.

Source: Agencies