Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot WallstromReuters

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of handing a "medieval" punishment to Raif Badawi, the blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, AFP reported.

Last week, Saudi Arabia's supreme court upheld the sentence against Badawi, who ran a site called Free Saudi Liberals and has been in custody since 2012.

"My opinion is that it's a medieval sentence. It's a medieval method that does not have its place in a society that allows a free media and allows people to express their point of view," Wallstrom was quoted by AFP as having told Swedish Radio.

The minister was reiterating comments that led to a diplomatic row between Stockholm and Riyadh in March.

In January, Wallstrom also accused Riyadh of using "medieval methods" after it sentenced blogger Badawi to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes.

In March, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Stockholm, accusing Sweden of "flagrant interference" in its affairs after Wallstrom told parliament the oil-rich state was a "dictatorship" that violated women's rights and whipped bloggers.

Saudi laws are based on Islamic Sharia law, a moral and religious code.

Lashes are a common punishment in Saudi Arabia for offenses such as insulting the monarchy, blasphemy, or even insulting members of one’s own tribe.

Despite its less than stellar human rights record, Saudi Arabia won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council a year ago, being one of several countries with questionable human rights records to win seats in this body.