Raif Badawi

Saudi writer and blogger, Raif Badawi, has been serving a 10-year prison sentence for six years now, but his impact in the world of journalism lives on. 

This week, Badawi was announced as the winner of the 2018 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism, an award given annually in honor of Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in 2002.

"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 Chris Palmeri, the LA Press Club's president, in a statement.

Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, along with their three children - who are currently residing in Canada - will fly out to Los Angeles to accept the award on behalf of Badawi on June 24.

American journalism organization, Los Angeles Press Club, has been honoring journalists through its annual National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and SoCal Journalism Awards since its founding in 1913.

The organization has sent an official letter to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, pleading for Badawi's release.

"We are hoping the Prince will take his reformism one step further and show the world that the modern Saudi Arabia believes in freedom of expression for all of its citizens," the organization said in a statement.

People on social media are delighted with the news

"Well deserved"

"Not too many people will risk their lives to speak for the voiceless"

"Great choice"

"Thank you for keeping his story alive"

"Congratulations to this free speech warrior"

Not Badawi's first award

Over the years, Badawi's story has won human rights awards time and again, including the Prix Voltaire award "for showing exemplary courage in upholding freedom of speech."

In 2017, Badawi was awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights by the European Parliament.

Badawi's case is still going strong

Badawi's website 'Free Saudi Liberals' was initially created for the sole purpose of debating political and religious issues in the kingdom. 

In 2012, he was arrested for a number of charges, including insulting Islam and apostasy.

The blogger was then convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013 but was then re-sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison one year later. 

Since then, an ongoing campaign - led by his wife and human rights activist, Ensaf Haidar - has fought to #FreeRaif.

Haidar and the couple's three kids are currently living in exile in Canada. 

In 2017, she urged the newly appointed crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to release her husband from prison.