Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, US spying whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pakistani campaigner for girls’ education Malala Yousafzai are the shortlisted finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Parliament said on September 30 2013.
The laureate will be announced on 10 October, and the 50 000 euro prize will be awarded in Strasbourg on November 20.
Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich (representing all Belarusian political prisoners) are dissidents from Belarus.
They have been in jail since the mass peaceful demonstration, in Minsk’s Independence Square on December 19 2010, against the disputed re-election of president Alexander Lukashenko.
Ales Bialiatski is president of the “Viasna” Human Rights Centre, Eduard Lobau is a “Malady Front” activist, and Mykola Statkevich was a presidential candidate in 2010.
Snowden is an American computer expert and former CIA/NSA employee who released classified information about US mass surveillance of electronic communications.
In June 2013, the US government charged him with espionage, theft and illegal use of government property. Later in July he was given temporary asylum in Russia.
Yousafzai is a 16-year-old girl who fights for the right to women’s education, freedom and self-determination in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where the Taliban regime has banned girls from attending school. She was 11 years old when she began her fight by writing a blog under a pseudonym. She quickly became a prominent voice against such abuses, and Taliban gunmen tried to assassinate her in October 2012. She has since become symbol of the fight for women’s rights and worldwide access to education.
The laureate will be announced by the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents on October 10 in Strasbourg and invited to the award ceremony on November 20, also in Strasbourg.