UIA - Human Rights Prize 2015 to Waleed Abu Al-Khair
The UIA is proud to announce that the 20th Ludovic-Trarieux Human Rights Prize 2015 has been awarded to Waleed Abu Al-Khair.
Waleed is a human rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia, sentenced to 15 years in prison by his government. He defended Raif Badawi in court and is married to Raif's sister, Samar Badawi.
The International Association of Lawyers (UIA - Union Internationale des Avocats) brings together over 2, 000 individual members and 200 bar, federation and association members, from more than 110 countries.
The Ludovic-Trarieux Human Rights Prize is awarded annually to a member of the legal profession for outstanding human rights representation.
It is an annual legal award first won by Nelson Mandela in 1985, while he was in detention in apartheid South Africa.
Al-Khair has long campaigned for reforms in the conservative kingdoms through the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA) organisation he founded.
Due to his activism he was handed a 15-year jail sentence by a Jeddah court last year, in a ruling that Human Rights Watch (HRW) described as "outrageous".
The lawyer was convicted on a series of charges slammed by HRW as "vague" including undermining the regime and officials.
"Saudi Arabia has invariably dealt harshly with its citizens who criticize Saudi policies, but putting a peaceful activist behind bars for at least a decade over his social media comments and statements to news media is a new low," commented then Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East and North Africa director.
Currently in jail himself, Al-Khair represented his brother-in-law, the prominent blogger Badawi who has been jailed for 10 years and sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.
Bertrand Favreau, the founder of the Ludovic Trarieux Prize, told AFP the award goes to those who "through their work, activities or suffering defend the respect for human rights".