Navalny, winner of the 2021 European Parliament Sakharov Prize

The Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, the worst enemy of President Vladimir Putin, has been awarded today the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience that is awarded every year by the European Parliament and that in many cases has acted as a prelude to the Nobel Peace Prize. “The European Parliament calls for the immediate and unconditional release” of Navalny, said its first vice president, Roberta Metzola, MEP, announcing the result of the vote in the conference of presidents, which brings together the institution’s political groups. “He has fought against the corruption of the Putin regime. This has cost him his freedom and almost his life. Today’s award recognizes his immense courage,” said the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, convalescing from Italy in a tweet. pneumonia.

Navalny, 45, was the candidate proposed by European liberals and conservatives. The Russian opposition has finally imposed itself on Afghan women, represented by activists Shaharzad Akbar, Mary Akrami and Zarifa Ghafari, which was the choice of European socialists, although it has decided to honor them by organizing a four-week work program to draw attention to your situation. The third candidate in the running was that of Bolivian politician Jeanine Ánez, currently in prison for her involvement in a coup against Evo Morales, proposed by the sovereign group ECR. The Sahrawi activist Sultana Jaya, the green candidate, however, did not reach the final selection.

Nelson Mandela was the first European award winner in 1988

The award ceremony is scheduled for December 15. But, as has happened with other winners, the presence of the winner at the ceremony is more than in doubt. Its first winner was the South African Nelson Mandela, in 1988, two years before being released. The award honors Russian physicist and opponent Andrei Sakharov and is the European Union’s highest award for defending human rights. The award is endowed with 50,000 euros, which in the past have been received by the democratic opposition of Belarus (2020) and Venezuela (2017), the Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege (2014) or the activists Nadia Murad, of Kurdish origin, and the Pakistani Malala Yousazi in 2014 and 2013 respectively; both women received the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.

In the presentation of candidates, the European Parliament highlighted “the courage in the fight for freedom, democracy and human rights”. Navalny gained notoriety through his blog and his Twitter and YouTube channels, from where he called for anti-corruption reforms in Russia and from where he launched his political candidacy. In August 2020, during a trip to Siberia, he was poisoned with a Novichok-type toxic substance. He was transferred to Berlin, where he spent several months recovering, but returned to Moscow in January, where he was greeted with massive demonstrations. Navalny was arrested as soon as he landed at Moscow airport and jailed.

The Russian opponent was sentenced in February to two and a half years in prison

The Russian opponent was tried and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for failing to keep appointments with the judge while in Germany and the terms of his probation for a fraud sentence. The European Union’s foreign ministers responded by approving new sanctions against senior Russian officials. This spring, Navalny went on a hunger strike to protest the lack of medical care at the high-security prison where he is being held, sparking a wave of international protests and pressure on Moscow. The United States warned that the death of the opponent would have “devastating consequences” for Russia. Navalny was eventually transferred to an outside hospital.

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Navalny, winner of the 2021 European Parliament Sakharov Prize

Hank Gilbert