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Sakharov Prize 2018 awarded to Ukrainian activist and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov

12 December 2018

Sakharov Prize 2018 awarded to Ukrainian activist and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov

Since 1988, the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize has honoured individuals and organisations from around the world that have defended human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Since 1988, the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize has honoured individuals and organisations from around the world that have defended human rights and fundamental freedoms. The President of the European Parliament presents the award once a year, in Strasbourg.

The winner of the Sakharov Prize this year is Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was arrested in Crimea after it was annexed by Russia on spurious charges of plotting acts of terrorism. He was subsequently sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by a Russian court. Previously he had been providing aid for Ukrainian soldiers and their families during the crisis and had been an active supporter of the Maidan Revolution, and other associated movements, in Ukraine.
He has been awarded the Sakharov prize because of his courage and determination in putting his own life in danger for what he belived in and has now become a clear symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world.
Sentsov’s cousin, Nataliya Kaplan, who visited the ECR Group in Strasbourg this week will accept the award on his behalf and has stated that it is not just a prize but a tool to fight the issue of prisoners of conscience.

The Sakharov Prize is named in honour of Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov, who was a human rights activist and defender until he was internally exiled to Gorky, Russia. In 1975, Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His work is esteemed through the reception and bestowing of the Sakharov Prize annually by the European Parliament. ​

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