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Sakharov Prize top nominees 2017

The finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize have been announced. The laureate will be selected on 26 October by the President and the political group leaders.

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela, and the Swedish- Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak have been named as this year’s finalists for Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought following a vote by the foreign affairs and development committees on 10 October.

The finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize are:

Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, a human rights defender from Guatemala. She is a member from the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK), an organisation that fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors in the territory and has been subject to threats.

Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating in terms of democracy, human rights and the economy in a climate of growing political and social instability. Political prisoners in Venezuela as as well as the democratic opposition in Venezuela were also shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

Dawit Isaak, a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who was arrested in 2001 by the Eritrean authorities during a political crackdown. He has been imprisoned without a trial since and was last seen in 2005. Isaak has been also a Sakharov finalist in 2009.

Asia Bibi, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa had also been nominated for the Sakharov Prize.

On 26 October Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the leaders of the political groups, known as the Conference of Presidents, will select this year’s laureate from among the finalists. The prize, consisting of a certificate and €50,000, will the awarded in a ceremony in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 December 2017.

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