he 2013 Sakharov Prize nominees, presented at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Human Rights Subcommittee on Monday, are: Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan), Edward Snowden (USA), Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega (Ethiopia), Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich (Belarus), Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Russia), the “Standing Man” protesters (Turkey), and the CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern – Day Slavery (USA).
Malala Yousafzai – nominated jointly by 3 political groups:
• for the EPP group, by José Ignacio Salafranca (ES), Elmar Brok (AT), Michael Gahler (DE), Arnaud Danjean (FR), Joseph Daul (FR), Gay Mitchell (IE) and Mairead Mc Guinness (IE),
• for the S&D group, by Hannes Swoboda (DE) and Véronique de Keyser (BE),
• for the ALDE Group, by Guy Verhofstadt (BE), Sir Graham Watson (UK), and Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck (BE),
and also by Jean Lambert (Greens, UK) and the ECR group.
Ms Yousafzai was 11 years old when she began her fight for the right to female education, freedom and self-determination in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where the Taliban regime bans girls from attending school, by writing a blog under a pseudonym in 2009. She quickly became a prominent voice against such abuses, and Taliban gunmen tried to assassinate here in October 2012. She has since become symbol of the fight for women’s rights and worldwide access to education.
Edward Snowden – nominated by the Greens/EFA group and GUE/NGL group
A computer expert who worked as a contractor for the US National Security Agency and leaked details of its mass surveillance programmes to the press, Mr Snowden has been charged with espionage in the USA and is now living in temporary asylum in Russia.
Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega – nominated by Ana Maria Gomes (S&D, PT) and 40 other MEPs
These Ethiopian journalists are serving prison terms on terrorism charges. Ms Alemu was sentenced in January 2012 after writing columns critical of the government, and Mr Nega was sentenced six months later, after criticizing the prosecution of journalists and dissidents in Ethiopia and writing about how an Arab Spring-like democracy movement might arise there.
Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, representing all Belarusian political prisoners – nominated by Marek Migalski (ECR, PL), Filip Kaczmarek (EPP, PL), Jacek Protasiewicz (EPP, PL) and 39 other MEPs.
Belarusian presidential candidate Mr Statkevitch, “Malady Front” activist Mr Lobau, President of the “Viasna” Human Rights Centre Mr Bialiatski and other protesters have been in prison since December 2010, when they protested in the streets of Minsk about the “fraudulent” presidential elections that confirmed President Alexander Lukashenko in office.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky – nominated by Werner Schulz (Greens/EFA, DE) and 40 other MEPs
Russian businessman Mr Khodorkovsky was arrested on 25 October 2003, after calling on President Putin to account for systemic corruption and advocating an independent judicial system and respect for the rule of law. He was charged with fraud and sentenced in May 2005 to nine years in prison. In December 2010 further charges were brought against him, and his sentence was prolonged until 2017.
“Standing Man” protesters – nominated by Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL) and 40 other MEPs
Erdem Gündüz was the first man to stand and stare in the Taksim Square protests in Istanbul, which started on 17 June 2013. Later he was joined by others, making this form of protest a symbol of the peaceful movement for a liberal society respecting human rights and freedoms.
The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery – nominated by Boris Zala (S&D, SK) and 40 other MEPs
This global media campaign against the slave trade, human trafficking, and forced and child labour has issued over 400 reports since 2011 highlighting the suffering of victims from Mauritania to India to the Philippines.
The Foreign Affairs and Development Committees and Human Rights Subcommittee will hold another joint meeting on 30 September to vote on the short list of the three finalists. The laureate will be chosen by Parliament’s Conference of Presidents on 10 October in Strasbourg and invited to the award ceremony on 20 November, also in Strasbourg.