Saudi security forces
Saudi security forces AFP file

Saudi Arabia has postponed the flogging of blogger Raif Badawi for the second week running, human rights group Amnesty International said Thursday, according to the BBC.

Amnesty said the decision was made after doctors advised against this week's 50 lashes on health grounds.

Badawi was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" and disobedience.

He was due to receive the lashes over 20 weeks and was given the first round on  January 9.

Footage that emerged of that flogging showed the slight figure of Badawi standing in a white shirt as he was beaten with a stick, reported the BBC.

Ensaf Haider, the blogger's wife, said she was "relieved" he would not be flogged again on Friday, but said she remained concerned about his health.

Badawi's sentence provoked international outcry on a scale that Saudi leaders may not have been prepared for.

Rights groups and activists say his case is part of a wider clampdown on dissent throughout the kingdom. Officials have increasingly blunted calls for reforms since the region's 2011 Arab Spring upheaval.

Badawi has been held since mid-2012, and his Free Saudi Liberals website is now closed. The case has drawn condemnation from rights groups.

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.