Nominees announced for European Parliament's Sakharov prize

STRASBOURG, France, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A whistle-blower, a preteen Pakistani activist, journalists and dissidents were nominated for the European Parliament's Sakharov prize for freedom of thought.

European Union political groups nominated Edward Snowden, who revealed information about the U.S. National Security Agency's massive monitoring program; Malala Yousufzai, an 11-year-old who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in October after she denounced the Taliban abuses against girls wanting an education; Ethiopian journalists Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega, jailed for writing columns critical of their government; and Belarusian dissidents Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, jailed after they complained about and protested against election fraud by President Alexander Lukashenko, EUobserver reported Tuesday.


Forty-one members of the European Parliament also nominated Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has served 10 years in a Siberian jail after refusing to back President Vladimir Putin and criticizing Russia's political system.

Erdem Gunduz, the first man to stand in Turkey's Taksim Square, which prompted large-scale protests against the government also was nominated as was U.S. cable news network CNN for its Freedom Project, a global campaign against the slave trade, human trafficking and forced child labor.


European Union parliament members involved in foreign affairs and human rights will determine three finalists Sept. 30. A winner will be named Oct. 10 and be invited to attend the the award ceremony Nov. 20.

The Sakharov prize was named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1975, EUobserver said. Since 1988, the prize has been awarded annually to people or organizations fighting for human rights and civil liberties.

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