Russia’s Navalny wins EU Sakharov rights prize

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Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was awarded the European Parliament’s annual human rights prize on Wednesday for his efforts to challenge President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

Navalny, 45, who was poisoned in August 2020 by what Western nations said was a nerve agent, is serving a 2-1/2-year sentence for parole violations he calls trumped up. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russian officials over Navalny’s poisoning and imprisonment.

The largest group in the European Parliament, the EPP Group, announced the prize on Twitter.

Moscow denies any wrongdoing and accuses the EU of interfering in its domestic affairs.

Past 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, Venezuela’s democratic opposition and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai.

Photo – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cage prior to a hearing at the Babushkinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, 20 February 2021. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

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