EU lawmakers to announce prestigious human rights prize

Brussels - Jailed Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, Moroccan activist Nasser Zefzafi and 11 migrant rescue organizations are the three contenders for the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov prize, to be announced on Thursday at noon (1000 GMT).

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded annually to those who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe.
The 11 nominated aid organizations include SOS Mediteranee, Doctors without Borders (MSF), Proactiva and Save the Children. Since 2015, the groups have worked to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach European shores.
Their work was hampered this year by Italy's new populist coalition, which has imposed a policy of turning away migrant rescue boats.
Sentsov, a fierce critic of Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, was sentenced in 2015 to two decades in a Russian prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks in Crimea.
Zefzafi, a key figure behind a wave of anti-government street protests in Morocco, was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The EU legislature established the 50,000-euro (57,209-dollar) Sakharov Prize in 1988. The award ceremony is on December 12.
The first laureate was South Africa's Nelson Mandela. In recent years the award has gone to the Venezuelan opposition, two survivors of sexual enslavement by Islamic State and the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Thursday, October 25th 2018

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