Ales Bialiatski nominated for 2012 Sakharov Prize

The imprisoned human rights defender is on the list of candidates for the Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought 2012, which is posted on the European Parliament’s official web site. Ales Bialiatski was nominated by Polish MEP Jacek Sariusz-Wolski and 82 other MEPs.

The list also includes Pakistani and Rwanda human rights defenders, a lawyer and director from Iran, Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

The representatives of our country have obtained the Sakharov’s Prize twice: in 2004 the Belarusian Association of Journalists was awarded the prize, in 2006 ex-presidential candidate Aliaksandr Milinkevich was honoured with it.

About the prize

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov. It has been awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. Prospective candidates are nominated pursuant to the Sakharov Prize statute by at least 40 members of the European Parliament or by a political group.

Parliament awards the human rights prize, endowed with 50,000, at a formal sitting held in Strasbourg on or around 10 December, the day on which the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948.

Who was Andrei Sakharov?

The Russian physicist Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (1921-1989), who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, first came to prominence as the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb.

Concerned at the implications his work had for the future of humankind, he sought to raise awareness of the dangers of the nuclear arms race. His efforts proved partially successful with the signing of the 1963 nuclear test ban treaty.

In the USSR, Sakharov was seen as a subversive dissident. In 1970, he founded a committee to defend human rights and victims of political trials. In 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts.

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