Jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi has been officially awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Collecting the European Parliament accolade on his behalf in Strasbourg, Raif’s wife said it marked an “historic moment.”
Badawi, a human rights activist and author of the website “Free Saudi Liberals,” was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012, accused of insulting Islamic values. He was later sentenced to one thousand lashes and 10 years in prison.
The Sakharov Prize honours individuals and organisations defending human rights and freedoms.
“Clearly, the Sakharov Prize is a prestigious award, which has a great reputation throughout Europe,” Ensaf Haidar, Raif’s wife, told euronews.
“I hope that this prize will be a gateway to freedom for Raif. That it will bring him freedom, as it brought moral support to me and our children. And I hope it will seen as a sign of supporting Raif’s release.
“In reality, Raif is a man of peace, who spoke peacefully, his weapon was simply a pen. I hope Raif will be among his children very soon.”
Ensaf Haidar continued: “I have always had in my heart a conviction and faith in Raif’s cause, because ultimately Raif is a man who expressed himself differently.
“He was within his rights, as every man has the right to express himself.
“The important thing is that this freedom of expression is exercised in a peaceful manner, and that his speech was a peace speech.
“His weapon is always the pen, for this I repeat, that I have conviction and pride in what Raif did. I’m proud that he had the courage to express himself in a peaceful way.”