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A surprising parallel?

Late last year, the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (Free Saudi Liberals) was sentenced on appeal to ten years imprisonment and a thousand lashes for two offences: apostacy (apparently changing his religion, which is generally a capital offence in KSA) and “undermining the regime and officials” (essentially sedition). He had previously been sentenced to seven years and six hundred lashes for the second offence alone.

In 1681, Titus Oates was imprisoned and fined £100,000 for sedition. Four years later, he was retried for perjury and defrocked, imprisoned for life and ordered to be whipped through London five days a year although he was pardoned in 1689 on William and Mary’s accession. Oates’ invention of the “Popish Plot” had resulted in one Viscount, an Archbishop, about eight lower clergy and ten others, including the Duke of York’s secretary Coleman, being executed for a non-existent conspiracy.

There was and will be far less sympathy for Oates.

Please note that, on this occasion, we will only accept comments substantially related to the Oates case.

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