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Jailed Saudi Blogger Gets A Prestigious Award From US Journalists For His Courage

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Saudi blogger who is under custody was awarded the Daniel Pearl Award for courage and Integrity in Journalism as he enters his sixth year in Saudi prison.

Raif Badawi, a writer and blogger, will however not be able to receive the award. Instead, his wife, Ensaf Haider, will be collecting the award along with her children in June during the ceremony in Los Angeles. Haider and her three children now live in Quebec and have been granted permanent residency in Canada.

The LA Press Club’s president, Chris Palmeri, said in a statement on Monday: “Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our democracy and we must be vigilant, even with our allies, to make sure that imprisonment and torture are not used to stifle public discourse or discontent.”

The award is named after Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002.

There has been renewed calls for Badawi’s release by various quarters. But, nothing has managed to bring him out free so far.

Meanwhile, MBS is being criticized for his crackdown and cornering people who present their views against his ideas.

“These apparently politically motivated arrests are another sign that Mohammad bin Salman has no real interest in improving his country’s record on free speech and the rule of law,” said Sarah Leah Whitson,Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Badawi was arrested in Saudi in 2012 with charges of “insulting Islam through electronic channels”. In 2013, he was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, later extended to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2014, as well as a $266,000 fine fine and a travel ban.

He was also a co-founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, which called for reform in the conservative kingdom.

Amnesty International has urged the Canadian Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau to renew and intensify the call to Riyadh to free Badawi, as his family resides in the country’s province of Quebec.

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