A bipartisan group of top U.S. senators is demanding that Saudi Arabia, a key American ally, stop the “barbaric” whipping of a dissident sentenced to 1,000 lashes for criticizing Islamic religious leaders.

The eight Republicans and Democrats wrote Saudi King Abdullah to warn that “further violence” against blogger Raif Badawi will “unfortunately be a source of continued divergence between our two countries,” Fox News reported Tuesday.

Badawi received 50 lashes on Jan. 9 in the first of 20 weekly sets of public whippings. Saudi authorities rescheduled a second round of beatings scheduled Friday after a doctor examined Badawi and found that the wounds from the first whippings had not healed. He was also sentenced to five years in prison.

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