A group of five activists from the Arab world, Dzmitry Bandarenka and the San José de Apartadó Peace Community are the three shortlisted finalists for the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The final winner will be announced on 27 October, following a decision of the Conference of Presidents (President Buzek and political group leaders).

The three finalists were selected from a list of five nominations.

The first is a collective "Arab Spring" nomination of five people who have risked their own lives to bring about democracy, fundamental rights and dignity for all. Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-ZubairAhmed al-Sanusi (Libya), Razan Zaitouneh (Syria), Ali Farzat (Syria) and Mohamed Bouazizi (Tunisia) have all played decisive roles in the Arab Spring. This nomination was submitted jointly by the EPP, S&D, ALDE and Green groups.

Dzmitry Bandarenka is a Belarusian civil activist and member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. He is one of the co-founders of the Charter '97 civil rights initiative and co-ordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign. He was nominated by the ECR group.

The San José de Apartadó Peace Community is a Colombian community of "campesinos" (peasant farmers), which has become an internationally recognized symbol of courage, resilience and dedication to the values of peace and justice, in an environment of brutality and destruction. The community was nominated by the GUE/NGL group.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded by the European Parliament every year since 1988 to individuals or organizations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy.