European Parliament Announced Milinkevich Nominee for Sakharov Prize 14:55, 26/09/2006
The European Parliament has announced three nominees for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2006. Among the candidates for the prize are the leader of the united democratic forces of Belarus Alyaksandr Milinkevich, Lebanese diplomat and journalist Ghassan Tueni, and a collective nominee – “all those fighting for hostages kidnapped” in Colombia. The decision on nomination of those candidates has been passed at the joint session of parliamentary committees on foreign affairs and on development. The European parliament is supposed to determine the candidate before the end of October. The award-giving ceremony is to take place at the final plenary session of the parliament in December.
Earlier the largest group of the European Parliament has voiced support to nomination of the leader of the united democratic forces Alyaksandr Milinkevich for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2006. “Giving this award to Alyaksandr Milinkevich would be… a signal to the official Minsk that the European Parliament and the European Union remember about the democratic opposition in Belarus”.
The annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organizations who had dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms. The first laureate of the prize in 1988 was Nelson Mandela (South Africa). In 2003 the prize was awarded to the United Nations, and in 2004 to the Belarusian Association of Journalists.