AA / Brussels
The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for the defense of human rights and freedom of thought for the year 2021 on Wednesday to Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny.
European Parliament Vice-President Heidi Hautala underlined in a press statement that the prize was awarded to Navalny during a session held at Parliament’s headquarters in the French city of Strasbourg.
For his part, the president of this assembly, the Italian David Sassoli, declared that “Navalny fought relentlessly against the corruption of the regime of Vladimir Putin and contributed to denounce the violations, through his accounts on social networks and his political campaigns. It cost him his freedom and almost his life ”.
Sassoli explained that Navalny was poisoned and imprisoned because he had the support of millions of Russians.
The President of the European Parliament underlined that the European Union salutes Navalny’s “extraordinary personal courage”, and called for his immediate release.
On January 17, Russian authorities arrested Navalny upon his arrival at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow from Germany, where he spent 5 months in treatment.
The next day, a Russian court ruled that Navalny should be detained for 30 days, following a request from the Interior Ministry, for “repeated violation of the conditions of judicial review”.
In protest against Navalny’s arrest, demonstrations broke out on January 23 in Russia in which tens of thousands of people across the country participated. The Russian police had carried out a large wave of arrests in order to curb these protest movements.
On February 2, the Russian justice sentenced Navalny to three and a half years in prison with immediate execution, for “a case of fraud in which a suspended sentence had been pronounced against him”.
* Translated from Arabic by Majdi Ismail
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