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ECR

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi on shortlist for Sakharov Prize

15 October 2015

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi on shortlist for Sakharov Prize

Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for his publications on the weblog ‘Free Saudi Liberals’, has been nominated for the 2015 Sakharov Prize.

Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for his publications on the weblog ‘Free Saudi Liberals’, has been nominated for the 2015 Sakharov Prize. Through the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament supports human rights, and the freedom of thought.

The ECR Group nominated Badawi: ‘We are convinced that he would be a well-deserved winner. This young man is undeniably a powerful symbol of the rights Andrei Sakharov fought for,’ says MEP Mark Demesmaeker, ECR spokesperson on human rights.

A joint meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees, and the human rights subcommittee voted this morning on a shortlist of three candidates for the 2015 Sakharov Prize. The ECR Group made two nominations for the prize: Raif Badawi, and Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot and politician who was captured in Eastern Ukraine and illegally transferred to Russia, where she is now on trial for accusations of murder.

Demesmaeker is satisfied Badawi made it on to the shortlist: ‘A blogger of 31, with a passion for language, stories and words doesn’t belong in a dark cell, and doesn’t deserve lashes. On the contrary, he should be honoured and cherished, and certainly by a country that presides over the UN Human Rights Council! But Saudi Arabia has taken away that what is precious for him, the universal right to freedom of thought.’

‘Human rights must always prevail over geopolitical and commercial interests,’ according to Demesmaeker. ‘We should give moral support to Badawi and other human rights activists, and strengthen them in their struggle for justice.’

The Sakharov prize will be selected by parliament’s group leaders on the 29th October.

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