Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Three men jailed for pushing for civil rights reforms in Saudi Arabia received the Right Livelihood Award Monday, also known as the "alternative Nobel Prize."
The prize recognizes those who stand up against corruption and human right violations.
Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammed Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair were awarded cash prizes worth a combined $113,000 "for their visionary and courageous efforts, guided by universal human rights principles to reform the totalitarian political system in Saudi Arabia," the Right Livelihood Award Foundation announced.
This is the first time the award has been given to Saudi Arabians.
All three recipients are in jail for what the Saudi government says incited disorder by calling for protests and forming an unlicensed organization. In 2013, al-Hamid and al-Qahtani were sentenced to 11 and 10 years, respectively. Al-Khair was later given 15 years.
Thelma Aldana of Guatemala and Ivan Velasquez of Colombia were also recognized as anti-corruption champions for work exposing abuses of power and prosecuting corruption in their countries, along with a farmer and agricultural scientists.
Past winners include U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Campaign Against Arms Trade, a group working toward the abolition of international arms trade.
Jacob von Uexkull founded the Right Livelihood Award in 1980 to recognize those he felt do not receive consideration for the Nobel Prize.