Daughter of Russian opposition leader Navalny presented with Sakharov Prize

Alexei Navalny remains imprisoned in Russia for failing to abide by the terms of a suspended sentence for fraud dating back to 2014, a case largely viewed as a Kremlin fabrication to discredit him and condemned by the European Court of Human Rights

Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, lawyer, and anti-corruption activist has been awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament.

Parliament president David Sassoli gave the award to Navalnys’s daughter Daria Navalnaya who was joined by her mother Ms Navalnaya, and Leonid Volkov, one of Navalny’s political advisers who served as his chief of staff during his 2018 presidential election campaign.

Alexei Navalny remains imprisoned in Russia for failing to abide by the terms of a suspended sentence for fraud dating back to 2014, a case largely viewed as a Kremlin fabrication to discredit him and condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

This latest detention, on the grounds that Navalny failed to regularly report to the police as per the terms of the 2014 sentence, follows the Kremlin's attempt to poison and kill him with Novichok, a highly toxic Russian chemical weapon. His legal team said that the whole case was absurd, as the authorities knew full well he was getting emergency treatment in Berlin for the Novichok nerve agent attack he suffered in Siberia. Navalny reminded the court that he had been in a coma during part of that time.

The Sakharov prize is an honorary award for individuals or groups who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought. Named after Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, the prize was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament. Awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela and Anatoli Marchenko.

The prize has so far been awarded to dissidents, political leaders, journalists, lawyers, civil-society activists, writers, mothers, wives, minority leaders, an anti-terrorist group, peace activists, an anti-torture activist, a cartoonist, long-serving prisoners of conscience, a film-maker, the UN as a body and even a child campaigning for the right to education. This prize champions above all freedom of expression, the rights of minorities, respect for international law, the development of democracy and the implementation of the rule of law.

The European Parliament awards the Sakharov Prize, with its €50,000 endowment, at a formal plenary sitting in Strasbourg towards the end of each year. Each of the Parliament's political groups can nominate candidates, as may individual MEPs.

The nominees are presented at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Development Committee and the Human Rights Subcommittee, and the members of the full committees vote on a shortlist of three candidates.

The final winner or winners of the Sakharov Prize are chosen by the Conference of Presidents, a European Parliament body led by the president, which includes the leaders of all the political groups represented in the Parliament, making the choice of laureates a truly European choice.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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