Russian Opponent Alexei Navalni, European Parliament Sakharov Prize For Human Rights

Russian opponent Alexei Navalni, European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Human Rights

Alexei Navalni has won the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights from the European Parliament “for his courage in fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights”. And they have done so by imposing in the final vote Afghan women (promoted by the Socialists and Greens, and supported by the Left) and Bolivian Jeanine Áñez (candidate of Vox and her group, ECR), who came to preside over the country after the coup against Evo Morales. Last year the winner was Belarusian opposition for “defending democracy in his country.”

Navalni, nominated by the PPE and Renew Europe groups, has been the winner thanks to the support in the final ECR vote: popular, liberal and ultra-conservative have more seats than socialists, greens and The Left, who supported Afghan women.


Socialist sources explain that, for President Iratxe García, “Navalni undoubtedly deserves this award, but this year, this fall of 2021 was the momentum to recognize Afghan women. The commitment of this group to continue working for the people of Afghanistan, especially its women and children, remains stronger than ever. In fact today [por ese miércoles] The Conference of Presidents itself has decided to organize Afghan Women’s Week. “

Navalni is one of the most prominent critics of President Putin. He has millions of followers on his LiveJournal blog and YouTube and Twitter accounts and made his name after calling demonstrations, running for president and advocating for anti-corruption reforms in Russia.

During a trip to Siberia in August 2020, Navalni was poisoned. He spent several months recovering in Berlin, but returned to Moscow in January 2021, when he was arrested. In February he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. To protest the lack of medical care at the high security prison where he is serving a sentence, he went on a 24-day hunger strike. A Russian court banned Navalni’s regional offices and its anti-corruption foundation in June 2021.

Next are the Afghan women. Under the previous Taliban regime, women were forced to marry and have virginity tests, they could not travel alone, the maternal mortality rate was very high and access to education was low. Following the return of the Taliban to power, women are once again excluded from government and education, and their rights and freedoms are threatened.

The women nominated for the award were 11: Shaharzad Akbar, Director of the Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC); Mary Akrami, director of the Afghan Women’s Network; Zarifa Ghafari, Mayor of the Maidan Shahr since 2018; Palwasha Hassan, activist and director of the Afghan Women’s Education Center (AWEC); Freshta Karim, founder of one of the mobile libraries and advocate for education and learning; Sahraa Karimi, the first woman to head the state film agency Afghan Film; Metra Mehran, advocate for women’s empowerment and education and co-founder of the Women’s Perspectives Movement; Horia Mosadiq, women’s and human rights activist; Sima Samar, human rights defender, former Minister of Women’s Affairs and former head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Afghanistan; Habiba Sarabi, was part of the negotiation team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Anisa Shaheed, political reporter.

Along the way were the Sahrawi activist Sultana Jaya, under house arrest since November 19, 2020 without a court order against her, and the NGO Global Witness, a movement in defense of environmental activists.

The other finalist has been Jeanine Áñez, nominated by the extreme right of Vox and ECR. Áñez became president of Bolivia in November 2019, after a coup that expelled President Evo Morales from the government and the country. In the November 2020 elections, Luis Arce, from Morales’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) party, regained the country’s presidency. Since March 13, 2021, Áñez has been detained accused of participating in a coup against Morales.

Áñez’s name has reached the final of the Sakharov Prize thanks to the fact that the group of European socialists in the European Parliament gave the order to support her ahead of the Saharan activist Sultana Khaya, promoted by The Left. Thus, an email sent by the Croatian socialist MEP Tonino Picula called his colleagues from the Foreign Affairs committee to vote for Áñez in the knockout stages against Khaya.

“For tactical reasons to increase our chances in the final vote, we kindly ask you to support the ECR candidate in the second round of voting now,” Picula noted in the email, whose content was advanced by El Confidencial and to which has had access. In the end, the award, in whose end Áñez has slipped, was ended up by Navalni.

The NGO Human Rights Watch denounced earlier this year that “egregious human rights violations were committed during Áñez’s presidency.”

“It was a way of getting our Afghan women to win,” sources from the socialist group have explained: “Dividing the vote from the right was pure strategy, and the president of the group, Iratxe García, was not aware of it. what was she, but the vice president [portugués] Pedro Marques. It is a strategy to divide the vote. “

And what did the PSOE MEPs present vote? “As the vote is secret, I do not know”, respond sources of the group.

Marquis, in response to the EU Observer, stated: “The strategic vote just means that if the votes of the left are not divided in the final round, there is a good chance that Afghan women will win the Sakharov Prize, as the S&D believes they deserve.”

“There is an attempt to exploit the award by the extreme right, as is the case of Jeanine Áñez [la candidata de Vox y su grupo, ECR], which carried out a coup against Evo Morales. The award must go to the true defenders of human rights “, said the co-president of The Left, Manon Aubry (France Insoumise).

According to the European Parliament, “The Sakharov Prize is the highest tribute paid by the European Union to work in the field of human rights. It is the expression of recognition to individuals, groups and organizations for their extraordinary contribution to the protection of freedom of conscience.”



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