PARIS (Web Desk) – Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger who has been sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes, has won the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for human rights.

He was arrested for insulting top clerics in Saudi Arabia last year.

(FILES) - A file handout picture taken in 2012 in Jeddah and made available by the family on January 16, 2015 shows Saudi blogger Raef Badawi who was sentenced in May 2014 to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine for "insulting Islam". Rights group Amnesty International said on January 22, 2015 that Saudi Arabia would postpone the flogging of Badawi, whose case has sparked international criticism, for a second week on medical grounds. AFP PHOTO / HO == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / FAMILY HO" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==

According to a statement from European Union Badawi was nominated for the prize, along with three others, the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, and assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

The EU statement said that Raif Badawi was voted by majority members for being a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech.


Meanwhile Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, who was granted asylum in Canada, has confirmed that he will be receiving second 50 lashes of 1,000 lashes sentence soon. She also urged newly elected Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau to help her husband released from Saudi Arabia. Trudeau had previously expressed support for Badawi during his election campaign.

The EU’s freedom of thought award has been named after the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. It was started in 1988 to honour people and organizsations defending human rights worldwide.