The jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny won the European Union’s most prestigious human rights award on Wednesday.
Navalny, 45, will not likely be able to receive the $582,000 award at the in-person ceremony on Dec. 15 due to his 30-month prison sentence for a parole violation charge he claimed was politically motivated.
“Mr. Putin, free Alexei Navalny. Europe calls for his — and all other political prisoners’ — freedom,” the European People’s Party group wrote in a statement upon the announcement of Navalny’s award.
RUBIO GOES AFTER GOOGLE AND APPLE FOR CENSORING MILLIONS OF RUSSIANS ON THEIR ELECTION DAY
Russian Opposition leader @Navalny is the laureate of the 2021 #SakharovPrize for Freedom of Thought.
Mr. Putin, free Alexei #Navalny. Europe calls for his – and all other political prisoners’ – freedom.#freenavalny pic.twitter.com/txf46QNV4k
— EPP Group (@EPPGroup) October 20, 2021
The Putin critic was selected as the recipient of Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought after the contest narrowed its selection to Navalny, a group of Afghan women fighting for human rights under the Taliban, and jailed Bolivian opposition politician Jeanine Anez.
After spending five months in Germany receiving treatment for nerve agent poisoning, Kremlin critic Navalny was arrested upon returning to Russia in January. He was sentenced to nearly three years in jail for violating his previous parole. He and international leaders allege the Moscow government was responsible for the poisoning, a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
In June, a court in Moscow ruled Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption is considered an extremist organization and barred anyone associated with the group from running for political office.
The enemy of President Vladimir Putin‘s administration ran a campaign for office in 2018 but was denied registration due to a previous conviction related to money laundering and fraud. Following his rejection by the Central Election Commission, Navalny called on his supporters to boycott the election.
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Notable past recipients of the Sakharov Prize include the late South African President Nelson Mandela and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
The award was granted last year to Belarus’s democratic opposition that protested the country’s leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka after a controversial election.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
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