As the Badawi case has shown, dissent in Saudi Arabia, as in many countries in the Middle East, is brutally suppressed. Yet Saudi Arabia is in fact a signatory to the Arab Charter on Human Rights in 2009, a document that guarantees the right to freedom of expression. Campaigners are asking Saudi Arabia to adhere to the standards it has set for itself.
For many observers, the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis is the latest episode in an ongoing wider cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Yemen, many argue, is the latest battleground front - joining Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria and Iraq - where the region's chief power-brokers have been locked in a proxy war for the best part of 20 years.