British writer James Fenton chose Badawi from a shortlist after he was awarded the 2015 PEN Pinter Prize and, by tradition, was obliged to share the award with “an international writer of courage,” Reuters reported.
“What moved me was the contrast between the simplicity of Badawi's liberal aims – their modesty, almost – and the ferocity of the punishments they have brought down on him,” Fenton said in a statement issued Tuesday when the PEN Pinter Prize was announced at the British Library in London.
Badawi was sentenced for criticizing Saudi authorities and the way religion is practiced in the kingdom. He received his first 50 lashes in January, which prompted a wave of criticism toward Saudi Arabia for human right violations.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales received the award on behalf of the imprisoned blogger.
“I hope that this award… will help bring freedom for Raif Badawi,” Wales said in a statement.