They may have different jobs - gynaecologist, religious leader, journalist – but they all share a commitment to defending human rights. The nominations for the Parliament’s 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be formally presented on Tuesday 23 September at a joint meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees and the human rights subcommittee. Follow the meeting live from 16.15 CET. The winner will be announced in October.
The nominees are (in alphabetical order):
- Mr Mahmoud Al ‘Asali, a law professor from the University of Mosul who stood up for Christian rights and was killed last July, and Mr Louis Raphael Sako, the Iraqi-born patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, were nominated for their defence of religious freedom in the country by the ECR group, Anna Záborská and 66 other MEPs.
- CHREDO, Open Doors, Oeuvre d'Orient and Aid to the Church in Need, organisations for the protection of Christian minorities were nominated by Philippe Juvin and 60 other MEPs.
- The pro-European Ukrainian movement EuroMaidan, represented by the journalist Mr Mustafa Nayem, the musician and Eurovision winner Ms Ruslana Lyzhychko, activist Ms Yelyzaveta Schepetylnykova and journalist Ms Tetiana Chornovol, was nominated by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski and 52 other MEPs.
- The Somali-born American activist, Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali, defender of women's rights in Islamic societies and known for her opposition to female genital mutilation, was nominated by the EFDD group.
- Mr Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist specialised in the treatment of rape victims and founder of the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic Congo, was nominated by the S&D and ALDE groups and Barbara Lochbihler.
- Ms Leyla Yunus, imprisioned Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy, was nominated by the Greens/EFA group and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Marietje Schaake and Ramon Tremosa.
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. Last year the prize was awarded to Malala Yousafzaï, the Pakistani campaigner for girls' education.
- 23 September – Formal presentation of the nominations
- 7 October – Announcement of the three finalists
- 16 October – Announcement of the winner
- 26 November – Award ceremony in Strasbourg