The wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi on Wednesday accepted the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize on behalf of her husband, urging Arab countries to tolerate differing views.
The wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi on Wednesday accepted the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize on behalf of her husband, urging Arab countries to tolerate differing views.
Ensaf Haidar told the assembly that her husband, sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam, believed that "freedom of expression is like the air that we breathe."
Parliament head Martin Schulz, presenting the prize, called on Saudi King Salman "to grant mercy to Raif Badawi and without further ado release him and allow him to return to his family."
Badawi is an internet activist who founded in 2006 a website named "The Free Saudi Liberal Network" to educate the Saudi community about its rights and duties and to criticize the religious power in the kingdom and its misinterpretation of the Islamic Law.
That was not acceptable to the Saudi authorities who arrested him in 2012 on a charge of "insulting Islam through electronic channels" and brought to court on several charges, including apostasy.
In 2013, he was convicted on several charges and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. In 2014 his sentence was increased to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes, and a fine.