What do the following people have in common: a civil society activist from Belarus, the director of a centre offering legal assistance to victims of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, three Rwandan opposition representatives, a Russian feminist punk-rock group, an Iranian lawyer and an Iranian film director? They are all nominees for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The list will be officially presented on Tuesday 25 September from 3pm to 4.30pm. Watch it live!
About the prize
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. It is named in honour of the Russian physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov. Last year it was awarded to the Arab Spring activists.
This year's nominees
The list of nominations for this year's prize will be presented at a joint meeting of the parliamentary committees for foreign affairs, development and human rights on 25 September. The nominees are:
Ales Bialiatski is an imprisoned civil society activist fighting for freedom of thought and expression in Belarus. He founded the Viasna Human Rights Centre, a nongovernmental organisation which provides financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families.
Nominated by MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski and 82 other MEPs
Joseph Francis is the founder and director of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS). Founded in 1992, CLAAS addresses the needs of victims of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, through legal assistance and if necessary by providing shelter and relocation.
Nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda are imprisoned Rwandan opposition politicians who tried to put an end to the violence in their country by fostering dialogue and reconciliation.
Nominated by MEPs Willy Meyer, Rosa Estaràs, Santiago Fisas, María Muñiz, Ana Miranda and 37 other MEPs
Pussy Riot is a band from Russia. Three of its members - Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina - were arrested after protesting in a cathedral against Russian president Vladimir Putin. They were sentenced to two years in a labour camp.
Nominated by MEP Werner Schulz and 45 other MEPs
Nasrin Sotoudeh, Jafar Panahi
Nasrin Sotoudeh is an imprisoned Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate. She represented imprisoned opposition activists and juvenile offenders facing the death sentence. Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor. His films often focus on the hardship children, the impoverished and women face.
Nominated by the Social-Democrat group, the Liberal-Democrat group, the Greens/European Free Alliance group as well as by MEPs José Ignacio Salafranca, Elmar Brok and 11 other MEPs