EP Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought:
- presentation of the eight nominees
- MEPs statements
Joint EP Committees on Foreign Affairs,Development and Human Rights meeting
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - European Parliament
End production: 25/09/2012 First transmission: 25/09/2012
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. It is named in honour of the Russian physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov. Last year it was awarded to the Arab Spring activists.
The list of nominations for this year's prize will be presented at a joint meeting of the parliamentary committees for foreign affairs, development and human rights on 25 September. The nominees are:
- Ales Bialiatski is an imprisoned civil society activist fighting for freedom of thought and expression in Belarus. He founded the Viasna Human Rights Centre, a nongovernmental organisation which provides financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families. Nominated by MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski and 82 other MEPs.
- Joseph Francis is the founder and director of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS). Founded in 1992, CLAAS addresses the needs of victims of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, through legal assistance and if necessary by providing shelter and relocation. Nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.
- Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda are imprisoned Rwandan opposition politicians who tried to put an end to the violence in their country by fostering dialogue and reconciliation. Nominated by MEPs Willy Meyer, Rosa Estaràs, Santiago Fisas, María Muñiz, Ana Miranda and 37 other MEPs.
- Pussy Riot is a band from Russia. Three of its members - Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina - were arrested after protesting in a cathedral against Russian president Vladimir Putin. They were sentenced to two years in a labour camp. Nominated by MEP Werner Schulz and 45 other MEPs.
- Nasrin Sotoudeh, Jafar Panahi. Nasrin Sotoudeh is an imprisoned Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate. She represented imprisoned opposition activists and juvenile offenders facing the death sentence. Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor. His films often focus on the hardship children, the impoverished and women face. Nominated by the Social-Democrat group, the Liberal-Democrat group, the Greens/European Free Alliance group as well as by MEPs José Ignacio Salafranca, Elmar Brok and 11 other MEPs
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Brussels
||Ambiences shot before the meeting starts (4 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (English) Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI, introducing the candidature of Ales Bialiatski, from Belarus: "So far EU and Parliament could do and did little to Belarus and this is the moment when we could do a little bit more. It is important that we send a strong message to Belarus that we don't forget their fight and their attachment to the European and the Universal values. Today is the birthday of Ales Bialiatski, who is spending it in the prison. He's a long serving prisoner in the Lukashenko's regime prisons and a symbolic and emblematic figure for the democrats and freedom fighters in Belarus."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Charles TANNOCK (ECR, UK), introducing the candidature of Joseph Francis, from Pakistan: "The ECR candidate for Sakharov Prize, Joseph Francis, is one of the few remaining voices of moderation in Pakistan who openly and robustly challenges the blasphemy laws and their abuses. This is a global prize, I have to say I don't have the statistics here, but I don't recollect a candidate or a prize winner from South Asia in recent years and it is important that we also recognise what is happening in that part of our planet".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Willy MEYER (GUE, ES) introducing the candidature of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda, from Rwanda: "The Sakharov Prize is something that they deserve, they fulfil all the criteria and furthermore this could be the symbol of the kind of reconciled Rwanda that we would like to see. We believe this Prize could be a message for Africa and especially to what the genocide in Rwanda meant. The three candidates, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi and Bernard Ntaganda should be freed and have the opportunity to come to receive the Sakharov prize".
||SOUNDBITE (German) Werner SCHULZ, introducing the candidature of Pussy Riot, from Russia: "These women with creativity, courage and internal strength have protested and demonstrated against an autocratic regime and a patriarchal state power that they've managed to embarrassed in its despotic nature".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Cristian DAN PREDA, introducing the candidature of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, from Iran: "Torture and excess punishments take place on daily basis. After China, Iran is at the top of the list of countries for capital punishment. If my information is correct, at least 360 people have been executed last year".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Véronique DE KEYSER (S&D, BE), introducing the candidature of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, from Iran: "(Iran) is also a country of great artists and culture. The oppressive Ahmadinejad regime has never succeeded in stifling culture. I would have liked to show you a film from Jafar Panahi, 'The white balloon', which was presented in Cannes in 1995 and made him famous. A marvellous film, as many others Iranian films.."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Marietje SCHAAKE (ALDE, NL) introducing the candidature of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, from Iran: " Nasrin Sotoudeh is absolutely deserving of this Sakharov Prize. She's an excellent candidate. A human rights lawyer who is now imprisoned herself. She has defended juvenile women and prisoners of conscience and she's also protected children that were abused in the family setting from returning back home".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Hélène FLAUTRE (Greens/EFA, FR), introducing the candidature of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, from Iran: "It's very important in that particular region to be able to give some support and recognition to civil society in Iran. Extraordinary people with whom we count on in that region. And we have to draw distinction between the people and the government in the region. The idea of these two candidates to the prize, one man one woman, both Iranian, we send a strong message".
||Cutaways (6 shots)