Andrei Sakharov with his wife Yelena Bonner © Yury Rost  

Find out who are the nominees are for this year's Sakharov Prize in our article. The laureate is announced on 26 October.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The nominees for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:

Asia Bibi (Aasiya Noreen), a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under the country´s blasphemy law. Bibi is on a death row for almost seven years and her appeal to the supreme court has been postponed to an undetermined date. She was nominated by ECR.

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. She was nominated by Greens/EFA.

Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of the pro-kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey arrested in November 2016 on terrorism charges after their parliamentary immunity was lifted. They were nominated by GUE/NGL.

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 as regards democracy, human rights and socio-economy, in a climate of growing political and social instability. Nominated by EPP and ALDE. 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 was Sakharov finalist in 2009. He was nominated by S&D as well as by Wikström and 46 other MEPs.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a Burundian human rights activist and founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH). He was detained in 2014, escaped an assassination attempt in 2015 and is now living in Belgium. He was nominated by EFDD.

 

 

Calendar 
  • 2 October: MEPs present their nominees during a joint meeting of the foreign affair, development and human rights committees 
  • 10 October: the foreign affairs and development committees vote on a shortlist of three finalists  
  • 26 October: the Parliament President and the political group leaders announce the laureate(s) 
  • 13 December: award ceremony takes place at the Parliament in Strasbourg 

Sakharov Prize: the process step by step

How the Sakharov Prize laureate is selected 

Nominations for the Sakharov Prize can be made by political groups or by at least 40 MEPs. Based on the nominations, the foreign affairs and development committees vote on a shortlist of three finalists. After that the Conference of Presidents, made up of the Parliament President and the leaders of the political groups, select the winner.

In 2016 the prize was awarded to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar.