THE ECONOMIST – ENSAF Haidar cut a brave, dignified and somehow lonely figure today as she received a standing ovation from the European Parliament and collected a highly prestigious human-rights award on behalf of her husband, the jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose internet activities have earned him a horrific sentence of 1,000 public lashes.
Mr Badawi is the latest recipient of a prize named after the great Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, awarded annually since 1988. Previous recipients have included Nelson Mandela, the Soviet political prisoner Anatoly Marchenko (posthumously) and the protagonists of the Arab spring. Ms Haidar said she was very glad to see her husband added to the gallery of laureates, and that he had willingly agreed to receive the honour. But he might not hear much, immediately, about today’s proceedings; that is because he had been transferred, last week, to a different jail where she had not managed to contact him. The transfer had taken place soon after Mr Badawi said he was beginning a hunger strike.