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Saturday December 04, 2021

Kremlin critic Navalny wins EU’s Sakharov rights award

By AFP
October 21, 2021

Strasbourg, France: The European Parliament on Wednesday awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights to jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who last year survived a poisoning attack he blames on the Kremlin.

In a tweet, the parliament’s right-of-centre EPP group announced the prize and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin “to free Alexei Navalny. Europe calls for his -- and all other political prisoners’ -- freedom”. Navalny, also nominated but passed over for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, was jailed in February after returning to Russia from Germany where he was treated for the attack.

The movement headed by the 45-year-old has been banned as “extremist” and some of his allies have been forced to leave Russia under pressure from authorities. The Sakharov Prize, set up in 1988 and named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded every year to those fighting for human rights or democracy.