Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, US spying whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pakistani campaigner for girls' education Malala Yousafzai are the shortlisted finalists for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The laureate will be announced on 10 October, and the €50,000 prize will be awarded in Strasbourg on 20 November.
Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich (representing all Belarusian political prisoners) are dissidents from Belarus. They have been in jail since the mass peaceful demonstration, in Minsk's Independence Square on 19 December 2010, against the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. Ales Bialiatski is President of the "Viasna" Human Rights Centre, Eduard Lobau is a "Malady Front" activist, and Mykola Statkevich was a presidential candidate in 2010.
Nominated by Marek Migalski (ECR, PL), Filip Kaczmarek (EPP, PL), Jacek Protasiewicz (EPP, PL) and 39 other MEPs
Edward Snowden is an American computer expert and former CIA/NSA employee who released classified information about US mass surveillance of electronic communications. In June 2013 the US government charged him with espionage, theft and illegal use of government property. Later in July he was given temporary asylum in Russia.
Nominated by the Greens/EFA group and GUE/NGL group
Malala Yousafzai is a 16 old girl who fights for the right to women's education, freedom and self-determination in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where the Taliban regime has banned girls from attending school. She was 11 years old when she began her fight by writing a blog under a pseudonym. She quickly became a prominent voice against such abuses, and Taliban gunmen tried to assassinate her in October 2012. She has since become symbol of the fight for women's rights and worldwide access to education.
Nominated jointly by 3 political groups: for the EPP group, by José Ignacio Salafranca (ES), Elmar Brok (DE), Michael Gahler (DE), Arnaud Danjean (FR), Joseph Daul (FR), Gay Mitchell (IE) and Mairead Mc Guinness (IE), for the S&D group, by Hannes Swoboda (AT) and Véronique de Keyser (BE), for the ALDE Group, by Guy Verhofstadt (BE), Sir Graham Watson (UK), and Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck (BE); by Jean Lambert (Greens, UK); and by the ECR group.
The laureate will be announced by Parliament's Conference of Presidents on 10 October in Strasbourg and invited to the award ceremony on 20 November, also in Strasbourg.