'Raif is not a criminal:' Saudi blogger's wife accepts award from European Parliament

Members of the European Parliament honoured imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi with the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday.

See Full Article

Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison in May, 2014, for criticizing Saudi Arabian clerics on his website in 2012.

He is also facing a fine of at least $300,000. An appeals court overturned an initial sentence of seven years in prison and 600 lashes.

Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Sherbrooke, Que., with the family's three children, accepted the award on behalf of her husband Wednesday.

"Raif is not a criminal," she said at the ceremony.

"He is a writer and a free thinker – that is all. Raif Badawi's crime is being a free voice in a country that does not accept anything other than a single opinion and a single thought."

Badawi received 50 of the 1,000 lashes in January during a public flogging, before the punishment was put on hold because of health concerns and other undisclosed reasons.

However, his sentence was upheld in June and he remains in jail.

"Raif Badawi was brave enough to raise his voice and say no to their barbarity. That is why they flogged him," said Haidar.

Members of the European Parliament also renewed calls for his release.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz called Badawi an "inspiration for all those fighting for fundamental rights in the region" and urged King Salman of Saudi Arab to issue a pardon and release him unconditionally.

"No terror, no inhumane penal system will prevent us from fighting for human rights," he said.

"No security agreement, no weapons deal or oil money may deter us."

Badawi's supporters tried to deliver 31,000 letters demanding his release to Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Ottawa last month., but were met by closed doors.

Haidar has previously stated that she would like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide his support, and she is hopeful the Canadian government can send her husband a passport.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Two wildfires burning in B.C.'s Northern Interior and Cariboo regions

    Canada News CTV News
    100 MILE HOUSE, B.C. -- There are two wildfires burning in the Cariboo and Northern Interior regions of B.C. BC Wildfire Service says a containment line has been established around an out-of-control wildfire near 100 Mile House. Source
  • Professor fired for racially charged remarks on Fox News

    World News CBC News
    A New Jersey community college has fired an adjunct professor after officials say she made racially insensitive comments on Fox News. Essex County College's president announced the decision Friday, two weeks after Lisa Durden appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Source
  • 'It's definitely a crisis,' says family after three Cape Breton teen suicides

    Canada News CTV News
    The family of a young transgender teenager who took his own life is calling on the Nova Scotia government to do more to address what they’re calling a suicide crisis in Cape Breton. Justin Newell died by suicide on June 3. Source
  • Canadians not shy at wrapping themselves in the Canada 150 logo

    Canada News CBC News
    It's been said that Canadians are not brash about their patriotism, but you wouldn't know it from the variety of merchandise, big and small, being snapped up in advance of Canada's 150th birthday July 1. From T-shirts to hats, flags to flasks, condoms to caskets, goods adorned with celebratory logos are popping up faster than you can say sesquicentennial. Source
  • HL:Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare" and signalled that last-minute changes were coming to win enough support for passage. Source
  • Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Making a final push, U.S. President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare" and signalled that last-minute changes were coming to win enough support for passage. Source
  • Crowd catches teen falling from park ride; no serious injury

    World News CTV News
    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- A teenager fell about about 8 metres from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground. Source
  • Toronto Pride parade draws revellers from around the world

    Canada News CBC News
    The annual Pride parade is one of Toronto's biggest celebrations, drawing tens of thousands of revellers into the city to fête the LGBT community. Reading this on mobile? Find our live blog hereAbout 150 different organizations, businesses and groups are participating in the two-hour parade. Source
  • Some U.S. pride parades disrupted by protests

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Gay pride parades Sunday in New York, San Francisco and other cities are spotlighting resistance to what participants see as new pressure on gay rights, while contending with the prospect of protests over the events’ own diversity and direction. Source
  • Float in Montreal parade sparks allegations of racism

    Canada News CTV News
    A video taken at Saturday’s St. Jean Baptiste parade in Montreal is sparking outrage among some -- and calls for calm among others. The video shows pop singer Annie Villeneuve on Rue St. Denis on a float being pushed by what appears to be only people of colour. Source