2016 Freedom Prize Awarded to Raif Badawi in European Parliament

2016 Freedom Prize Awarded to Raif Badawi in European Parliament

Posted: 6th December 2016 By: Evelyne Abitbol Category: News Comment: 0

pff-2016Ensaf Haidar – author, co-founder of the Raif Badawi Foundation and the wife imprisoned human rights icon Raif Badawi – has today received Liberal International’s (LI) 2016 Prize for Freedom on behalf of her husband at a special ceremony in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

Receiving the award from Mr. Markus Loening, Germany’s former Federal Commissioner for Human Rights and LI Vice-President, Ms. Haidar said:

 “Raif Badawi, who is living through his fourth year of imprisonment, has not committed any crime; he simply wanted to exercise his right to freedom speech. All he wanted, and still wants, is a peaceful transition in his country. He wanted reforms in his country and he announced that publically hoping that the government will listen. 

“The fact that Raif has been awarded this esteemed Prize is in itself a reminder of Raif’s liberal message. Raif is a peaceful intellectual who strongly believes in the freedom of people without political or religious oppression. Liberalism provides every guarantee for individual freedoms and protects the freedom of expressing one’s religion without imposing it on society.”

Awarding the Prize of behalf of Liberal International, Mr. Markus Loening said:

“I would like to extend my great thanks and recognition for the work you [The Raif Badawi Foundation] are doing. With your Foundation, it gives hope to your husband and to others that individuals can stand and make a difference.


“It tells us something about the regime in Saudi Arabia. It should also tell us something about our relations with them. Too many countries including my own have too friendly relations with a regime that commits crimes against humanity. This Prize for Freedom goes to this courageous man who hasn’t seen his wife and children for a year now.”

 Former Canadian Member of the Canadian Parliament and legal counsel for Raif, Dr. Irwin Cotler, said:

“Raif Badawi’s unjust imprisonment and cruel treatment constitute a standing violation of his fundamental rights and freedoms – an assault on freedom of belief and expression, on prohibitions against torture, on the right to a fair hearing – in a word, the criminalization of freedom. 

“Accordingly, I commend Liberal International for awarding its Prize for Freedom to Raif Badawi, who has displayed great courage in standing up for freedom and human rights. It is particularly poignant that the Prize is being awarded the week of UN Human Rights Day – highlighting the struggle for fundamental rights that finds expression both in the case and cause of Raif Badawi and the work of Liberal International.”

Note to editors:

*Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 on a charge of insulting Islam through electronic channels and brought to court on several charges including apostasy. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, then resentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison plus a fine in 2014. The lashes were to be carried out over 20 weeks.

Previous recipients of the LI Prize for Freedom include Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma/Myanmar) , Benazir Bhutto(Pakistan), and Waris Dirie (Somalia). A full list, dating back to 1986, can be found here.

Liberal International (LI) is the world federation of over 100 liberal and progressive democratic political parties and affiliates. LI was founded in 1947 to strengthen liberal protection from totalitarianism and communism. It is the only one of the major political internationals with a dedicated human rights committee that actively participates in the working mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Media Requests:

William Townsend | Communications and Policy Advisor
Liberal International | 1 Whitehall Place, London – SW1A 2HD Tel: + 44 (0) 207 839 5905


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