Ales Bialiatski nominated for Sakharov Prize

September 13, 2012

Ales Bialiatski, the imprisoned Belarusian human rights activist, was nominated for the European Parliament Prize For Freedom of Thought named after Andrei Sakharov. The list of nominees is posted on the web-site of the European Parliament. 

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, the Polish deputy who initiated the nomination, signed for the nomination of Bialiatski for the Prize, so did other 82 deputies of the European Parliament.

Ales Bialiatski was described as a person whose:
His great civic courage in the fight for fundamental and universal democratic values is a source of inspiration for many across the globe. His virtuous and unflinching commitment to the cause of freedom of thought and expression in the face of shameless persecution inflicted by the Belarusian authorities is a true reflection of the philosophy of Andrei Sakharov.
 The other nominees are The three jailed members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Joseph Francis, founder and director of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), which addresses the needs of victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws; three jailed Rwandan opposition representatives, who have tried to put an end to the cycle of violence by fostering dialogue and reconciliation – Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda; and Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate Nasrin Sotoudeh arrested and held in solitary confinement since 2010, and award-winning Iranian film director Jafar Panahi, sentenced in 2010 to six years imprisonment and banned from making films for 20 years.

The Sakharov Prize was awarded to five representatives of the Arab people, in recognition and support of their quest for freedom and human rights.

The prize, named after the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989), has been awarded since 1988 to individuals or organizations who have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. It is worth €50,000, and previous winners have included Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi,and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his entire staff.

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