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Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi wins top EU rights prize, the Sakharov Prize

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 file photo, members of the Austrian Greens attend a protest against the detainment of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in front of the KAICIID in Vienna, Austria. A Saudi blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Muslim clerics has won the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights. Raif Badawi was honored with the award as a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech - an announcement greeted with a standing ovation Thursday, Oct, 29, 2015 at the European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France. “I urge the king of Saudi Arabia to free him, so he can accept the prize,” Parliament President Martin Schulz said. (AP Photo/Hans Punz, file)

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 file photo, members of the Austrian Greens attend a protest against the detainment of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in front of the KAICIID in Vienna, Austria. A Saudi blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Muslim clerics has won the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights. Raif Badawi was honored with the award as a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech - an announcement greeted with a standing ovation Thursday, Oct, 29, 2015 at the European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France. “I urge the king of Saudi Arabia to free him, so he can accept the prize,” Parliament President Martin Schulz said. (AP Photo/Hans Punz, file)  (The Associated Press)

A Saudi blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Muslim clerics has won the European Union's prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights.

EU lawmakers said Thursday that Raif Badawi was honored with the award as a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech after a vote. The prize was to be announced publicly later in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

The freedom of thought award is named after the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. It was set up in 1988 to honor people and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Badawi was one of three nominees for the prize, along with the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, and assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.