Saudi blogger Raif Badawi wins the 2015 Sakharov Prize

29 October 2015

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi wins the 2015 Sakharov Prize

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has won the EU’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, after a decision of the European Parliament’s group leaders this morning.

Mr Badawi was nominated for the award by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, alongside several other parliamentary groups.

He is currently serving a 10-year sentence, with 1,000 lashes, for setting up a website that encourages political discourse in Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi received the first 50 lashes in January 2015, but it has been reported that the remainder of his sentence could resume shortly.

The Sakharov prize 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 defence of human rights and freedom of thought. Previous laureates include Aung San Suu Kyi and Malala Yousafzai.

Syed Kamall, Leader of the ECR Group, which nominated and supported Mr Badawi’s case for the Sakharov Prize, said:

“I am delighted that Raif Badawi has won this prize. This is a prize for freedom of thought, and I can think of nobody more deserving than a man imprisoned for encouraging open debate in a country where it is not tolerated.

“This prize should send out a strong signal to Saudi Arabia that freedom of speech and thought is a universal right. Saudi Arabia can lock up the man and they can lash him, but they will only strengthen amongst his countrymen the yearning for free speech and debate that he stands for.

“We award this prize in December and I very much hope that by then Raif Badawi will be able to collect it in person.”

Mark Demesmaeker, ECR human rights spokesman, added:

“A blogger does not belong in a dark cell and does not deserve lashes. He deserves to be cherished, especially by a country chairing the UN Human Rights Council.”

Peter van Dalen, co-chair of the ECR’s policy group in religious freedom, added:

“The ECR policy group on religious freedom seeks to bring justice to unjust legal systems like these. We believe the EU needs to reform its diplomatic posture towards Saudi Arabia, such that we promote religious freedom for all, and work to repeal injustices like blasphemy laws – of which Mr. Badawi has fallen victim.”




ECR Group

an hour ago

Our co-chairs @RaffaeleFitto & Ryszard #Legutko react to the election of @vonderleyen as the next @EU_Commission Pr… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

ECR Group

11 hours ago

Starting now - our co-chair @RaffaeleFitto speaks in the debate with Commission President-designate @vonderleyentwitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Johan Van Overtveldt

6 days ago

Het is gebeurd. Een eer en een genoegen om met unanimiteit verkozen te worden als voorzitter van de Commissie Budg… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

BUDG Committee Press

6 days ago

.@jvanovertveldt elected as Chair of @EP_Budgets by acclamation

ECR Group

7 days ago

Today we met with the President-designate of the European Commission @vonderleyen for a wide ranging discussion on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

ECR Group

8 days ago

Happening this week: tomorrow Commission President-designate @vonderleyen will attend our Group meeting & on Wednes… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

ECR Group

11 days ago

Next week we'll be nominating @BeataSzydlo to chair the @EPSocialAffairs committee! As a former Prime Minister of P… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

ECR Party

12 days ago

Happy #IndependenceDay to our American friends and partners in the @GOP! We are proud to be the staunchest defende… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

ECR Group

12 days ago

Next week we'll be nominating our Flemish MEP @jvanovertveldt to chair @EP_Budgets - as a former Belgian Finance Mi… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

ECR Group

13 days ago

Second place for our candidate @ZahradilJan!! We now move into the second round... #EUTopJobs twitter.com/EuroParlPress/…

© 2018. All rights reserved. European Conservatives and Reformists Group