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"Heart" to support demands  for the release of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, who was awarded Parliament's #SakharovPrize for Freedom of Thought today        

"Raif Badawi was brave enough to raise his voice and say no to their barbarity. That is why they flogged him," said Ensaf Haidar, the wife of jailed Saudi human rights activist Raif Badawi, accepting the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on his behalf in Strasbourg on 16 December. Badawi was honoured by the European Parliament for his fight for freedom of speech and thought in Saudi Arabia.

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Raif Badawi might be this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought laureate, but he won't be there in person to collect the award in the Parliament on Wednesday 16 December. The Saudi blogger and human rights activist remains in prison and instead his wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in exile in Canada with their children, will represent him during the ceremony in Strasbourg. Check out our infographic for more details and follow the ceremony live on our website on 16 December from noon CET.

The three finalist of the Sakharov Prize 2015 are: Raif Badawi, Unidad Venezuela and Boris Nemtsov © Courtesy of Amnesty International & © AP images/European Union - EP        

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela and the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov are the three finalists for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, after a vote during a meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees and the human rights subcommittee. The laureate will be decided by Parliament's president and political group leaders on 29 October and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 16 December.

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2015 Sakharov Prize winner is Raif Badawi  © Courtesy of Amnesty International        

Raif Badawi is the laureate of this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following an October 29 decision by EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders. Badawi is a blogger from Saudi Arabia currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for insulting Islam on his website promoting social, political and religious debate. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 16 December.

Sakharov Prize 2014: Meet the nominees        

The nominations for Parliament´s 2015 Sakharov Prize were formally presented this Monday 28 September at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Human Rights subcommittee. The Sakharov prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression. The winner will be selected in late October.


From Mandela to Mukwege, the European Parliament has been awarding the Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought every year since 1988, but how does the winner get selected? Check out our infographic to find out how the process works and follow #SakharovPrize on Twitter to find out all the latest news on this year's laureate.