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This year's Raif Badawi Award for courageous journalists has been granted to Ahmet Şık on the International Frankfurt Book Fair. His Attorney Can Atalay received the prize for Ahmet Şık in his absence.
The award has been presented to Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for "insulting Islam".
"I am deeply touched by Ahmet Şık's courage. He and Raif are sharing the same fate. Both were imprisoned for saying what they think", said Haidar.
Şık: "Honoured and hurt at the same time"
In his message sent for the prize ceremony, Ahmet Şık said:
"As someone who is in captivity for performing journalism / giving a voice to the truth; being deemed worthy to this award that is granted in the name of Raif Badawi, also in captivity in another country for expressing his thoughts and was tortured, makes me both feel honoured and hurt at the same time...
"The truth and those who give a voice to the truth are being made enemies and being tried to be destroyed.
"They have besieged the media which refused to abet them and imprisoned journalists who insisted on giving a voice to the truth that they observed.
"We will not pull up stakes, Turkey is our home, our past"
"We will not pull up stakes and leave. Because we are here and we exist. And we will continue to exist.
"Turkey is our home. It is our life. It is our past. It is our future where peace, rights, justice, law and equality will rule.
Baum: "Şık's case reflects current political situation in Turkey"
Germany's Former Minister of Interior Gerhart R. Baum stated that Şık's case reflected the current political situation in Turkey.
Criticizing the crackdown by the Government on the media since the July 2016 coup attempt and 170 dissident journalists being behind bars, Baum said:
"The fate of Ahmet Şık and Can Dündar, to name just two of the accused, is and remains a barometer of freedom and constitutional development in Turkey, which is an indicator of the relationship between Turkey and the European Union as a whole".
Mansur: "Freedom of expression is a must in a democratic order"
Honouring that award has been granted to someone who has persecuted and incarcerated for pursuing the truth, spokesperson of the Muslim Forum Germany underlined in his speech that the right to freedom of expression was one of the most important foundations of a free and democratic order and said:
"We will not let ourselves be intimidated by you, and we will not allow you to use violence to restrict our freedom of expression!"
Journalists Outside Initiative: #FreeAhmetŞık, #FreeRaif, #FreeThemAll.
Journalists Outside Initiative has posted about the award presentation ceremony with the hashtags #FreeAhmetŞık, #FreeRaif and #FreeThemAll.
Ahmet Şık is among the defendants in Cumhuriyet Trial and has been behind bars for 285 days.
He had been detained due to his social media posts and articles on December 29, 2016 and was arrested on December 30, 2016 by İstanbul 8th Criminal Judgeship of Peace for "propagandizing for FETÖ/PDY (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Organization and PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party)".
He faces between 7.5 and 15 years in prison on charge of "aiding the terrorist organizations of Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) as a non-member.
Raif Badawi Award
The Raif Badawi Award is being granted to courageous journalists in Islamic societies to honor their commitment for freedom of expression and aims at raising awareness to human rights violations.
It was initiated by his wife Ensaf Haidar and the international media alliance to remember the legacy of the Saudi writer, dissident Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10years in prison for "insulting İslam". (EKN/DG)
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