Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

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Who: Raif Badawi
Where: Strasbourg, France
What: Awarded 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
When: 29 October 2015
Why: For his courageous journalism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi on 29 October 2015 awarded Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for the year 2015.

An announcement in this regard was made by the President of European Parliament Martin Schulz at European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France; Subsequently, Schulz appealed to Saudi King Salman to free him, so he can accept the prize.

Badawi was one of three nominees for the prize along with assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.

Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was convicted of insulting Islam in 2012 and was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1000 lashes.

He received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in January 2015, but subsequent floggings have been postponed.

In early October 2015, he also won the Pen Pinter Prize for championing free speech in honour of the late Nobel Literature Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter.

About Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

• It has been awarded by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations for their contribution to the fight for human rights and democracy.
• It is named after the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
• While the prize in 2014 was conferred on Denis Mukwege of DR Congo for treating gang rape victims, Nelson Mandela (1988), Aung San Suu Kyi (1990) and Malala Yousafzai (2013) were the previous winners.