Saudi Arabia has been under the spotlight for its treatment of activists and artists, and that doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. One of its most prominent human rights controversies is turning into a biopic.
German production company wants to bring the story of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi the attention it deserves.
The book is not just about the politics. A big portion focuses on Haidar and Badawi's intimate relationship, from start to finish.
"In a strictly regimented daily life that categorically divides two worlds – that of men from that of women – Ensaf and Raif are fighting for a love that transcends every boundary, even those between the two of them. Their private realm ultimately becomes political. A genuine drama unfolds as though Romeo and Juliet had risen again, this time in Saudi Arabia," said Tom Streuber, one of the film's producers.
Badawi was first arrested in 2012 for "insulting Islam through electronic channels" on his website. He received a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.
Since then, an ongoing campaign has fought to #FreeRaif.
Badawi's story captured the world's imaginations, winning human rights awards time and again, including the Prix Voltaire award "for showing exemplary courage in upholding freedom of speech."
“This prize is intended to honor a person or an organization/institution that has made a notable contribution to the defense and promotion of freedom to publish anywhere in the world,” the IPA said in a statement at the time.
Badawi was also awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights by the European Parliament last year.