Winner of the Sakharov Prize: Raif Badawi

Raif Badawi was named the winner of the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought this morning. Today is his 1253rd day spent in jail for being a writer. He is the first winner from Saudi Arabia.

The prize carries with it an award of €50,000 but no guarantees of personal safety; the 2011 winner, Razan Zaitouneh, a Syrian human rights lawyer, was kidnapped in 2013 and her whereabouts remain unknown. A high-placed source informed Ensaf Haidar, Raif’s wife, two days ago that an official go-ahead was delivered this week to resume caning him, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Saudi officials certainly knew that Raif Badawi was one of three finalists for this prestigious international award and they certainly are aware that he is this year’s laureate.
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