Ukrainian people win EU Parliament’s Sakharov prize

Ukrainian people win EU Parliament’s Sakharov prize |

The people of Ukraine, represented by their president, elected leaders, and civil society, won the 2022 Sakharov prize, an annual award the European Parliament gives to organisations and individuals that defend freedom of thought and human rights.

The prize is €50,000, granted to civil society representatives.

In her announcement, EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola praised the efforts of the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russia, saying they “are risking their life for Europe. I know they will never give up, and nor will we”, she said on Wednesday (19 October).

They are standing up for what they believe in.

Fighting for our values.

Protecting democracy, freedom & rule of law.

Risking their lives for us.

And today proud winners of @Europarl_EN #SakharovPrize.

No one is more deserving.

Congratulations to the brave people of Ukraine!

— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) October 19, 2022

Established in 1988, the Sakharov award was named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov.

The first winners were anti-apartheid activist and South African former-president Nelson Mandela and Soviet dissident and author Anatoli Marchenko.

In 2021, the prize was granted to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin’s biggest critic, who is currently detained in Russia.

The Ukrainian people were proposed as candidates by the Socialists and Democrats and the European People’s Party, the two biggest and oldest political groups after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.

The two other finalists were WikiLeaks activist Julian Assange, proposed by the Italian 5 Stars Movement, and the Colombian Truth Commission, supported by The Left.

Ukrainian people win EU Parliament’s Sakharov prize |

Sakharov prize finalists: Ukrainian people, Assange, Colombian Truth Commission

EU lawmakers have selected the finalists for the 2022 Sakharov Prize, a European Parliament award celebrating defenders of human rights and freedom of thought.

The 5 Stars Movement congratulated the winners, and MEP Sabrina Pignedoli declared in a press release on Wednesday that the party expects “the European Parliament to continue inviting all finalists to the award ceremony scheduled for December plenary. We are waiting for Assange in Strasbourg”.

The WikiLeaks founder is currently in London’s Belmarsh prison pending an appeal against his extradition to the US.

He is wanted by the US authorities on 18 counts, including espionage, relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables, which Washington said had put lives in danger.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevi/Alice Taylor]


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