‘Immense bravery’: Kremlin critic Navalny wins EU rights award | New

Past winners of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought include Mandela, the Venezuelan opposition, and Malala Yousafzai.

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny on Wednesday received the European Parliament’s annual human rights award for his efforts to challenge President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

Navalny, 45, who was poisoned in August 2020 by what Western countries have termed a nerve agent, is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for parole violations he calls out for nothing.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Russian officials for the poisoning and imprisonment of Navalny.

Moscow has denied any wrongdoing and accuses the EU of interfering in its internal affairs.

He also denied Western accusations that Navalny was jailed for his political activities and said he was punished for breaking the law.

“He fought relentlessly against the corruption of the regime of Vladimir Putin. It cost him his freedom and almost his life. Today’s award recognizes his immense bravery and we reiterate our call for his immediate release, ”the European Parliament said on Twitter, announcing Navalny as the winner.

Former winners of the 50,000 euro ($ 59,000) Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, include South African President Nelson Mandela, the Venezuelan Democratic Opposition and Pakistani activist from the education Malala Yousafzai.

Navalny said on Oct. 11 that a prison commission had designated him as an extremist and a terrorist, which he denied.

Navalny’s movement suffered a heavy blow in June when a court ruled his activities were extremist.

Many of his allies have had their homes searched or their freedom of movement restricted, and some have fled abroad.

Last month, Russia opened a new criminal case against Navalny that could keep him in jail for another decade.

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