Raif Badawi Wins EU Sakharov Prize

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Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in pon for insulting Islam, was awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize.

The Sakharov Prize, officially known as the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals and groups of people who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.

Raif Badawi is a Saudi Arabian blogger, writer and activist and the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, an online platform for political and religious debate. Reportedly, his website hosted material criticizing senior religious figures and Badawi suggested that the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University had become a den for terrorists.

He was arrested in 2012 on a charge of insulting Islam and indicted on several charges including apostasy. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, and then resentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison plus a fine in 2014.

The first 50 lashes were administered before hundreds of spectators on 9 January, 2015. Subsequent sets have been postponed in the face of international condemnation and Badawi’s dire state of health. Having received death threats, his wife and three children fled to Canada. His sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2015 and he remains in jail.

The prize is accompanied by a monetary award of €50,000. The prize is given every year to honour individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.

PREVIOUS WINNERS
1988 Nelson Mandela
1988 Anatoly Marchenko (posthumously)
1989 Alexander Dubček
1990 Aung San Suu Kyi
1991 Adem Demaçi
1992 Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
1993 Oslobođenje
1994 Taslima Nasrin
1995 Leyla Zana
1996 Wei Jingsheng
1997 Salima Ghezali
1998 Ibrahim Rugova
1999 Xanana Gusmão
2000 ¡Basta Ya!
2001 Nurit Peled-Elhanan
2001 Izzat Ghazzawi
2001 Dom Zacarias Kamwenho
2002 Oswaldo Payá
2003 Kofi Annan (& United Nations)
2004 Belarusian Association of Journalists
2005 Ladies in White
2005 Reporters Without Borders
2005 Hauwa Ibrahim
2006 Alaksandar Milinkievič
2007 Salih Mahmoud Osman
2008 Hu Jia
2009 Memorial
2010 Guillermo Fariñas
2011 Asmaa Mahfouz, Ahmed al-Senussi, Razan Zaitouneh, Ali Farzat,Mohamed Bouazizi (posthumously)
2012 Jafar Panahi, Nasrin Sotoudeh
2013 Malala Yousafzai
2014 Denis Mukwege
2015 Raif Badawi

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