Jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny awarded EU’s Sakharov Prize

Strasbourg, France, Oct 20 (EFE).- Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was awarded the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament on Wednesday.

David Sassoli, EP president, said: “He has fought tirelessly against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime. This cost him his liberty and nearly his life. Today’s prize recognises his immense bravery and we reiterate our call for his immediate release.”

Russia’s leading critic of Putin narrowly survived a Novichok nerve agent poisoning while campaigning in Siberia in August 2020, which he claims was carried out with the blessing of the Kremlin.

After months of undergoing specialist treatment in Berlin, Navalny was arrested upon his return to Russia in January this year and later found guilty of breaching the parole conditions of a suspended sentence he received in 2014 due to the fact he failed to report to authorities during his time in Germany.

Navalny and his supporters say both charges are purely political. His arrest sparked large protests in major Russian cities.

The anti-corruption activist is serving 2.5 years behind bars in a prison some 200 kilometers north of Moscow, where he has claimed on several occasions that he has been deprived of medical attention.

Navalny was previously nominated for the Sakharov Prize, named after Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, in 2019. EFE


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