25 September 2012 – The list of nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be officially presented today at 3pm at a joint meeting of the parliamentary committees on foreign affairs, development and human rights. Watch it live!
The nominees are:
Ales Bialiatski, an imprisoned civil society activist fighting for freedom of thought and expression in Belarus. He founded the Viasna Human Rights Centre, a nongovernmental organisation which provides financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families.
Nominated by MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski and 82 other MEPs
Joseph Francis, founder and director of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS). Founded in 1992, CLAAS addresses the needs of victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, through legal assistance and if necessary by providing shelter and relocation.
Nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi and Bernard Ntaganda, imprisoned Rwandan opposition politicians who tried to put an end to the violence in their country by fostering dialogue and reconciliation.
Nominated by MEPs Willy Meyer, Rosa Estaràs, Santiago Fisas, María Muñiz, Ana Miranda and 37 other MEPs
Pussy Riot, a feminist punk-rock group from Russia. Three of its members – Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina – were arrested after protesting in a cathedral against Russian president Vladimir Putin. They were sentenced to two years in a labour camp.
Nominated by MEP Werner Schulz and 45 other MEPs
Nasrin Sotoudeh, Jafar Panahi
Nasrin Sotoudeh is an imprisoned Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate who represented imprisoned opposition activists and juvenile offenders facing the death sentence. Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor. His films often focus on the hardship children, the impoverished and women face.
Nominated by the Social-Democrat group, the Liberal-Democrat group, the Greens/European Free Alliance group as well as by MEPs José Ignacio Salafranca, Elmar Brok and 11 other MEPs
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. It is named in honour of the Russian physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov. Last year it was awarded to the Arab Spring activists.
Source: European Parliament