UPDATED: European Parliament Sakharov Prize honours Alexei Navalny

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At a European Parliament ceremony in Strasbourg, the daughter of the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accepted the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on his behalf.

Alexei Navalny has been held in a corrective labor colony in Russia’s Vladimir Oblast region, east of Moscow, since February 2 and is serving part of a three-and-a-half year sentence, for alleged parole violations. He faces six additional charges, including allegedly starting an “extremist group.”

The European Court of Human Rights, as well as many western powers, have demanded his immediate release.

Awarding the prize in October, European Parliament President David Sassoli 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 recognizes his immense bravery, and we reiterate our call for his immediate release.”

Accepting the prize on behalf of her father, Daria Navalnya, said her father asked her to tell Europe that no one can dare to equate Russia to Putin’s regime. “Russia – is a part of Europe, and we strive to become a part of it. But we also want for Europe to strive for itself. To those amazing principals, which are at its core. We strive for Europe of ideas, the celebration of human rights, democracy, and integrity. And we don’t want the Europe of chancellors and ministers, who dream of getting a job on the board of directors of Putin’s state-owned companies or sailing on an oligarch’s yacht.”

Other nominees this year were a group of Afghan women fighting for equality and human rights and former interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez.

PHOTO (L-R) Alexei Navalny’s daughter, Daria Navalnaya, holds a photo of her father during the Sakharov Prize award ceremony at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 15 December 2021. Russian opposition leader, lawyer and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny receives the 2021 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Alexei Navalny is currently in prison. EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND / POOL

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