Sep 15, 2016

Crimean Tatars: Mustafa Dzhemilev Nominated for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

Mustafa Dzhemilev, the historic leader of the Crimean Tatars,  has won nomination for the EU’s foremost Human Rights prize by the EP’s Conservatives and Reformists bloc. Mr Dzhemilev and his family have been harassed by the Russian authorities for his activism on behalf of his community, which has been particularly targeted since Russia’s invasion of the peninsula. This news comes on the back of the release from psychiatric hospital of Tatar activist Ilmi Umerov, interned by force on a court order in Russia-occupied Crimea as part of Russia’s strategy to silence dissident voices. Dzhemilev’s nomination can be seen as an expression of the European Parliament’s support for the plight of Crimean Tatars. The 2016 laureate for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be announced in October.


The article below was published in Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty:

The European Parliament's largest political bloc will nominate Crimean Tatar politician Mustafa Dzhemilev for the 2016 Sakharov Prize.

The European People's Party will nominate Dzhemilev on September 14.

The European Conservatives and Reformists bloc - consisting of Britain's Conservative Party and the Polish Law and Justice party nominated him a day earlier.

Dzhemilev is expected to be one of the three shortlisted candidates chosen by the European Parliament's foreign affairs and development committees vote on October 11. Members of the European Parliament will decide the winner on October 27.

Dzhemilev is a Ukrainian lawmaker and a well-known Soviet-era human rights activist.

Dzhemilev, a former chairman of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people who strongly opposed Crimea's occupation and annexation by Russia, is currently living in Kyiv.

The Sakharov Prize - with a cash prize of 50,000 euros ($57,206) - has been handed out since 1988 to honor individuals and organizations who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.