The European Parliament on Thursday awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights to "democratic opposition" to President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, led by its figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, its president David Sassoli said on Thursday.
The Parliament distinguishes nine opposition figures.
The European Parliament on Thursday awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights to the "democratic opposition" to President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, whose figurehead, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, is a refugee in Lithuania.
"Do not give up your fight. We are by your side," European Parliament President David Sassoli said on Twitter, stressing that members of the opposition, mostly imprisoned or driven into exile, had "a something that brute force can never overcome: the truth ".
Nine distinguished personalities
In addition to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Parliament distinguished nine opposition figures, including the two women who campaigned alongside him, Maria Kolesnikova, now imprisoned, and Veronika Tsepkalo, in exile, as well as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Svetlana Alexievich.
The trio of women have been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
This candidacy was supported by the main political groups in Parliament, in particular the EPP (right), S&D (socialists and democrats) and Renew Europe (centrists and liberals).
After the Uyghur intellectual Ilham Tohti, sentenced to life imprisonment in China for "separatism", winner in 2019, MEPs crowned a movement led in particular by women, repressed by the authorities.
Nelson Mandela, the first laureate
This award should arouse the disapproval of Minsk, but also that of Moscow, support of President Lukashenko.
The Russian authorities had already denounced the choice of the winner in 2018, the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, then imprisoned.
The Sakharov Prize is due to be awarded on December 16.
Endowed with 50,000 euros and awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela, this prize "for the freedom of the spirit" owes its name to the nuclear physicist Andreï Sakharov, figure of the dissidence at the time of the USSR.