A portrait of jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi © Vincent Kessler

Hundreds of activists have descended on the Saudi Arabian Embassy in central London to hand over a petition signed by 250,000 people. It calls for the release of jailed activist and blogger Raif Badawi.

Marking one year since the 31-year-old was lashed 50 times in a public square in Jeddah, protesters will also hand over a separate petition demanding the release of his lawyer, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for attempting to set up a human rights monitoring website.

In 2014, a Saudi court imprisoned Badawi for 10 years for “insulting Islam” and setting up a liberal web forum.

He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000, £133,000).

Human rights organization Amnesty International, leading the protest vigil on Friday, is urging the Saudi government to release the writer, who was awarded the EU’s Sakharov prize last October.

The group has criticized Prime Minister David Cameron for responding inadequately, as Saudi Arabia is now taking a tougher line on dissent under King Salman, who came to the throne last year after the death of King Abdullah.

Since the brutal flogging of Raif Badawi a year ago there’s been an intensified crackdown in Saudi Arabia,” Amnesty UK’s director Kate Allen told the Guardian

more at RT