The Sakharov Prize

This prize is awarded every year by the European Parliament

Written by spunout

You might have seen a bit about this in your Timelines recently. The Sakharov Prize was awarded to Raif Badawi for human rights work. Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was set up in 1988 and is named after Russian scientist Andrei Sakharov.

The prize is awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause.

Previous winners of the prize include Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, and Malala Yousafzai.

2015 Winner

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. 

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.

Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, will collect the Sakharov Prize on his behalf on 16th December in the European Parliament.

Nominations for the Sakharov Prize can be made by political groups or by at least 40 MEPs. Based on the nominations, the foreign affairs and development committees vote on a shortlist of three finalists. After that the Conference of Presidents, made up of the EP President and the leaders of the political groups, select the winner.

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