Persecuted Saudi blogger wins human rights prize

This video, recorded in Canada, says about itself:

10 Years in Jail & 1,000 Lashes: In Conversation with Ensaf Haidar

18 August 2015

In June 2012, the creator of the Free Saudi Liberals blog Raif Badawi was accused of apostasy and insulting Islam, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1 000 lashes by the General Court of Jeddah.

Vice meets with Badawi‘s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who sought refuge in Sherbrooke QC with her 3 children in 2013. They discuss the message her husband was trying to get across in his writings, … and the life she left behind in Saudi Arabia.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded Sakharov human rights prize

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose flogging sentence caused an outcry, has been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize.

Parliament President Martin Schulz urged Saudi King Salman “to free him, so he can accept the prize”.

Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for “insulting Islam”.

Another example of the Saudi regime using religious pretexts to silence political criticism of itself.

Earlier this month he also won the Pen Pinter Prize for championing free speech.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations for their contribution to the fight for human rights and democracy.

It is named after the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Flogging postponed

Mr Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was convicted of insulting Islam in 2012 and fined £175,000.

He received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in January, but subsequent floggings have been postponed.

In June, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict despite a foreign outcry.

“This man, who is an extremely good man, an exemplary man, has had imposed on him one of the most gruesome penalties,” Mr Schulz told a packed European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France.

“I call on the Saudi king to immediately free him. Relations depend on human rights being respected by our partners… they are not only not being respected but are being trodden underfoot.” …

Mr Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, now living [in] Canada with their children, said the award was a “message of hope and courage”.

“I thank the European Parliament,” she told AFP news agency.

Mr Badawi was one of three nominees for this year’s prize along with assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.

Fortunately, at least this year the prize goes to a genuine human rights fighter. To someone who is up against dictatorial allies of the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union. If one of the two other candidates would have won, then it would have been more of a geopolitical move to embarrass governments with which the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union have economic and/or strategic issues. As sometimes happened with the Sakharov Prize before.

Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Myanmar activist Aung San Suu Kyi and Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

Two winners who deserved a human rights prize without any doubt: Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai. And one winner who half-deserved it: Ms Aung San Suu Kyi did stand up to the military regime in her country; but is silent on the state terrorism against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar (Burma).

Is your name now ‘banned’ in Saudi Arabia? Kingdom releases 50 names parents are forbidden from calling their children, such as Linda, Alice and Elaine: here.

9 thoughts on “Persecuted Saudi blogger wins human rights prize

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