Prestigious human rights award: Crimean Tatar leader shortlisted for 2016 Sakharov prize

16:46 Oct. 11, 2016

Crimean Tatar leader shortlisted for 2016 Sakharov prize

Mustafa Dzhemilev, former Soviet dissident and the leader of the Crimean Tatars (UNIAN photo)

Mustafa Dzhemilev gets the broadest support of the EP's relevant committees  

The leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev, Yazidi activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, and Turkish journalist Can Dundar have been named finalists for the European Parliament's Sakharov 2016 human rights prize.

The members of the EP's foreign affairs and development committees voted on a shortlist of three finalists on 11 October. According to Pedro Lopez de Pablo, the head of press office of the Group of the European People's Party, Dzhemilev got the broadest support.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, 72, is a Ukrainian MP and the former chairman of the Mejlis, the highest representative body of the Crimean Tatars, which is now banned in the Russian-occupied Crimea as an ‘extremist organisation'.

Being a leading human rights activist during the Soviet times, he was jailed several times for his ‘anti-Soviet activities'.

After Russia illegally annexed Crimea in early 2014, Dzhemilev has been barred from his homeland.

The European Parliament's annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was established in 1988. It is awarded annually "to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause."

The winner – chosen by the European Parliament president and the leaders of the political groups – will be announced on October 27.

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