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Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov wins 2018 Sakharov Prize

(B2) The European Parliament decided this Thursday (October 25) to award the 2018 Sakharov Prize “for freedom of thought” to Olger Sentsov. A message sent to Russia

« The filmmaker has become a symbol for the freedom of political prisoners in Russia and around the world “, underlined the President of Parliament, Antonio Tajani, after announcing the name of the winner of the Sakharov Prize 2018 this afternoon in Strasbourg.

A 'political' prisoner

The Ukrainian film director is serving a 20-year prison sentence, arrested in 2014, and convicted in 2015 by Russian courts, on charges of plotting terrorist acts. He opposed Russia's occupation of Crimea. In May, he began a hunger strike that lasted more than 145 days, for the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.

The voice of others

« He became the voice of around 70 other innocent people who perished in inhumane conditions in Russian prisons scattered across the vast country. By awarding them this award, we bear witness to the fact that they are not forgotten », comments CDU MEP Michael Gahler (EPP), permanent rapporteur of the European Parliament on Ukraine.

A loyalty to the spirit of Sakharov

Oleg Sentsov's candidacy was proposed by the Christian Democratic group PPE. “ By supporting Oleg Sentsov, the European Parliament took the opportunity to remain faithful to its convictions, to the principles of democracy, human rights and dignity, the rule of law and freedom of thought said Slovak MP Eduard Kukan, (EPP/independent).

The first European for ten years

He is the first European in ten years to receive this prize. It succeeds the Venezuelan democratic opposition (the national assembly and all political prisoners) to which the Sakharov Prize was awarded last year. The award ceremony will take place in December.

(Emmanuelle Stoesser)

Emmanuelle Stroesser

A journalist for magazines and the press, Emmanuelle specializes in humanitarian issues, development, asylum and migration and human rights.