Saudi-Arabian blogger is EP's Freedom of Thought winner
The European Parliament will award today the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, to Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger, writer and activist and the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals, an online platform for political and religious debate. The prize will be received by his wife.
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.