Alia and Lina, the sister of the detained Saudi activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, received the “Freedom Prize” that was awarded by an international committee in France to their sister, who was arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia two years ago, according to the award’s website.
The award was presented by the International “Normandy” organization to my sister, Loujain, the first Friday, during a ceremony organized in Caen, France, in the presence of a thousand people from 81 countries.
Loujain won the award after voting closed on June 6, according to an Anadolu Agency report.
The vote in favor of Jane came at the expense of Father Pedro Opica, known for his fight against poverty in Madagascar, and Nasreen Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian lawyer who specializes in defending human rights.
About 5,493 young people from 81 countries voted online to choose the winner of the Freedom Prize, and Lujain received 42.2% of the total votes.
The head of the “Normandy” organization, Hervey Morin, described Jane as “an exceptional embodiment of an exemplary commitment to freedom,” according to the award’s website.
For his part, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the French newspaper “Le Monde” and head of the jury for the “Freedom Prize” 2020, Emmanuel Davydenko, said, “Lujain Al-Hathloul was like Greta Thunberg in 2019, the youngest finalist in the final competition in the Freedom Prize.”
“Is this what explains the choice of 5,500 young people who took part in the vote? I see this choice coherent: from the anti-climate rallies last year, to the mobilization against racism and police violence after the terrible suffering of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Youth of the world are in line to defend global values.” First and foremost, freedom. “
According to the official French channel France 24, the award was awarded Friday, two years after the assassination of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, 2018, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Alia and Lina Al-Hathloul – through their Twitter accounts, late on Friday – posted pictures of receiving the Loujain award, to the applause of the audience. The prize is a trophy and a sum of 25,000 euros, according to the same reports.
On May 15, 2018, the Saudi authorities arrested a number of prominent human rights activists, most notably: Loujain, Samar Badawi, Nassima Al-Sada, Nouf Abdel Aziz, and Maya Al-Zahrani.
Human rights reports at the time attributed the reasons for the arrest to their defense of women’s rights, in exchange for official accusations, including compromising the country’s security.
Saudi Arabia faces international criticism over the conditions of freedom of expression and human rights, but it has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to “implementing the law with transparency.”