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Charlie Hebdo free speech debate is an opportunity to push for reform

The hypocrisy of Saudi Arabia sending minister of state for foreign affairs Nizar Bin Obaid Madani to France to take part in a rally defending free speech, just two days after Saudi Arabia lashed Raif Badawi for speaking his mind (see page 10) was not lost on the press, with many articles mocking Riyadh for taking part in the march to protest the 7 January attack on Charlie Hebdo. Saudi Arabia was by no means the only state guilty of this particular hypocrisy; UAE minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed and Bahraini foreign minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed were also criticised, and from beyond the Gulf, too, came leaders whose governments have a history of repression.

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