Memorial worthy winners of the Sakharov Prize


A few hours ago, it was announced that the Russian civil rights defence organization Memorial is awarded the Sakharov Prize 2009. The Sakharov Prize is the European Parliament’s Prize for freedom of thought. For more than 20 years, it has been awarded to brave people and organizations fighting for democracy and human rights, such as the Cuban dissident Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas ( whom I nominated myself) , Nelson Mandela, Reporters without Border and Alexander Milenkevich, leader of the opposition in Belarus.

To these chosen few, we can now add Memorial. Memorial is a worthy winner who have fought for democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the countries on the territory of the former Soviet Union. This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall and it makes Memorial an even more adequate winner. But Memorial has an important task in today’s Russia as well where the situation for independent journalists have proven to be quite dangerous.

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