Sakharov Prize: meet the finalists
The Ukrainian EuroMaidan movement, Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and Leyla Yunus, a human rights activist from Azerbaijan have been named as the finalists for the 2014 Sakharov Prize. They were selected by the foreign affairs and development committees on 7 October. Read on to find out more about the finalists.
The pro-European EuroMaidan movement started at the end of November 2013 as a protest against the decision of the Ukrainian government to postpone the signature of the association agreement with the EU. It is is represented by the journalist Mr Mustafa Nayem, Eurovision Song Contest winner Ms Ruslana Lyzhychko, activist and student representative Ms Yelyzaveta Schepetylnykova and journalist Ms Tetiana Chornovol.
In many armed conflicts around the world, rape is used as a weapon of war. Denis Mukwege is a 59-year-old gynaecologist from Democratic Republic of Congo. He founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he treats rape victims who have sustained serious injuries.
Leyla Yunus, an imprisoned Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy, has been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights in Azerbaijan. In a resolution adopted on 18 September, the Parliament condemned the detention of several human rights activists in Azerbaijan, including Ms Yunus.
The winner will be decided by Parliament's President and political group leaders on 16 October and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 26 November
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament to honour individuals or organizations who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to free expression.