The 2015 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought has been awarded to Saudi Arabian online activist Raif Badawi. Jean nominated Raif Badawi for this year’s prize after receiving many requests from London constituents to do so. Her colleagues in the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament also nominated him for the prize.
The decision was taken in today’s Conference of Presidents of the political groups in the European Parliament, based on a shortlist of 3 nominations. Welcoming the decision Jean Lambert stated:
“In awarding Raif Badawi this year’s Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament is giving deserved recognition to his role in pushing greater public debate in Saudi Arabia. We would urge the Saudi authorities to take heed of the vote. The Greens/EFA group nominated Raif Badawi for this year’s prize both to recognise his important role as an advocate of freedom of expression but also to put the spotlight on the poor human rights record of Saudi Arabia and help move the regime to release Raif Badawi and all other imprisoned activists. With reports that Badawi is set to endure renewed flogging, I would really hope that this signal of support from the EU will encourage the Saudi authorities to think again.”
Jean Lambert also added:
“The Sakharov Prize reminds us that there are many parts of the world where people suffer because they have dared to pursue the right to freedom of expression. The prize is not only to acknowledge individual courage but to remind us of the many who long for such freedom. The EU prides itself on its commitment to the promotion of human rights: geopolitical interests and trade policy should not cloud that commitment. Raif Badawi’s suffering is a powerful reminder of this responsibility.”