The Raif Badawi Award for courageous journalists is dedicated to journalists who stand up for freedom of the press, freedom of opinion and civil rights in their home countries.

Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, paid tribute to the Yemeni columnist and human rights lawyer, Abdul Rahman Al-Zbib, at the online Raif Badawi Award ceremony.

Shall we cancel or hold the award ceremony? This was the question we faced, as many other organizations and institutions in this year of Corona travel restrictions. Together with the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels association, we decided for a virtual ceremony – supported by an outstanding jury of journalists and motivated by Constantin Schreiber, a Tagesschau news speaker and the publisher of Raif Badawi's essays in Germany.

Agnes Callamard

Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib

Callamard demands sanctions

In her impressive laudatory speech, Agnes Callamard explained that the iconic award once more highlights the vibrancy of Yemeni civil society. "Violence has not made people fall silent." Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers who have repeatedly called for the maintaining of human rights in war settings must be supported from abroad as best as possible. On behalf of the United Nations, Callamard has investigated the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and has proven links to the Saudi royal family – the regime that has held Raif Badawi in custody since 2013 and will chair the G20 from November 2020. For the first time, Callamard demanded “Khashoggi sanctions” in Germany. According to her, international investigations should focus more on the chains of command and the masterminds behind political assassinations. The international system is still unable to react adequately to state crimes like the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Award Ceremony of the Raif Badawi Award 2020

Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib introduces himself

Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raif Badawi, speaks about Raif’s state of health.

Free Raif Badawi

Abdul-Rahman Al-Zbib addressed the political mood in his acceptance speech and explained that the prize motivated him to continue his human rights work in Yemen. Every night, he goes to bed feeling his house could be in ruins the next morning. No one wanted this war in Yemen, Al-Zbib emphasized. “We still have hope and will continue to work for an end to the war in Yemen.” Finally, he addressed the Saudi royal family directly requesting the immediate release of Raif Badawi.

Ensaf Haidar has strongly supported her husband since the beginning of his imprisonment.

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