Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Receives European Union’s Highest Human Rights Award

The European Parliament has awarded the EU’s highest human rights award to imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny for challenging President Vladimir Putin’s rule in the country.

Lawmakers on Wednesday (20/10), announced on Twitter that Navalny was the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The award is named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

In the announcement, legislators publicly criticized Putin and called for Navalny to be released from prison.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny gestures during a trial on defamation charges at the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, in this photo taken from footage provided by the Babuskinsky District Court, February 16, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny gestures during a trial on defamation charges at the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, in this photo taken from footage provided by the Babuskinsky District Court, February 16, 2021. (Photo: AP)

“Mr. Putin, free Alexey Navalny. Europe calls for his release and all other political prisoners,” the tweet said.

Navalny, 45, is currently serving a two-and-a-half year prison sentence. Authorities say Navalny violated parole conditions stemming from an earlier sentence in 2014 which he said were politically motivated. The court said he did not inform authorities of his whereabouts when he was flown to Germany for medical treatment. He was in Germany for five years recovering from the poisoning that nearly led to his death.

Navalny was arrested last January, when he returned to Russia. European medical experts say he was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Russian leaders over the poisoning and imprisonment of Navalny. The Kremlin continues to deny it played any role in the poisoning and lashes out at the EU, saying the bloc is interfering in Russia’s internal affairs.

The $59,000 Sakharov Prize will be presented at a ceremony in France in December. In the past, South African President Nelson Mandela, Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Venezuela’s democratic opposition have won the award.

This year, candidates for the award include a group of imprisoned Afghan women and Bolivian politicians and former interim President Jeanine Anez. [my/lt]

Check Also

China’s Military Power Is Expected To Overtake The US And Russia In The Near Future

A US military general warned that it was only a matter of time before China’s …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.