Imprisoned Saudi Arabian writer-blogger Raif Badawi is the winner of the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2018 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism, it was announced Monday.
Badawi is serving a 10-year prison sentence plus 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam” by promoting human rights and equal rights for women in Saudi Arabia on his blog. His sentence, if fully carried out, will most likely result in his death, according to the Press Club.
Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, and his three children plan to travel from their new home in Canada to accept the award on behalf of the imprisoned journalist at the press organization’s June 24 awards dinner at the Millennium Biltmore hotel.
“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,” said LAPC President Chris Palmeri, the Los Angeles bureau chief at Bloomberg News. “That is why we are honoring Raif Badawi and his family and call for his immediate release.”
The award is given in memory of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a Birmingham High School graduate who was kidnapped and killed by Islamic radicals in Pakistan in 2002.
Pearl, who grew up in Encino, was 38 when he was abducted while in Karachi working on a story about a link between failed shoe-bomber Richard Reid and al-Qaida. He was called a spy and videotaped as he was beheaded.