Sakharov Prize 2015 to go to Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi
Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger arrested in 2012 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a hefty fine, accused of insulting Islamic values on his website, is this year's laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Mr Badawi's wife, Ms Ensaf Haidar, will receive his prize on his behalf at a ceremony in Strasbourg on Wednesday at noon.
A joint press conference with President Schulz will take place immediately after the ceremony, at 12.30.
Following his conviction, the first 50 lashes were administered to Raif Badawi in January 2015, but the rest were postponed following international protests. Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, currently lives in Canada with their three children.
Also shortlisted for the prize were the Venezuelan Democratic Opposition and the murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. They will be represented at the ceremony by a representative of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (tbc) and Olga Shorina, Executive Director of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom in Germany.
Syrian cartoonist and 2011 Sakharov Prize laureate Ali Ferzat will also attend the ceremony.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament to honour individuals or organizations who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to free expression.
Award of the Sakharov Prize: Wednesday 16 December, 12.00
Press conference: Wednesday 16 December, 12.30
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