Sakharov Prize - Belarussian democratic opposition
Quote from Heidi Hautala MEP
Today (Wednesday 16 December), the European Parliament formally awards the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Belarusian opposition.
Heidi Hautala, Greens/EFA MEP and Vice President of the Parliament with responsibilities for the Sakharov network and Human Rights & Democracy, comments:
"The awarding of the Sakharov Prize to the democratic opposition sends a clear message from the European Parliament that we stand firmly alongside the people of Belarus in their struggle for freedom of expression, fundamental rights and democracy. It is a shame that the majority of the leaders of the opposition cannot receive the prize in person because they are in prison or have had to flee the country.
"The EU has a responsibility to provide even more support to the people of Belarus, to strengthen the democratic opposition by removing bureaucratic hurdles and to ensure that not one cent from international donors goes to the Lukashenka regime. We demand free and fair elections, the release of political prisoners and the legal processing of torture and rape. Intimidation and attacks against the democratic opposition and protesters must not go unpunished."
Representatives of the opposition who were present at today's award ceremony include:
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veranika Tsapkala, Tatsiana Khomich, Ales Beliatsky, Maryna Adamovich, Siarhey Dyleuski, Volha Kavalkova, Ivan Krautsou, Anton Radniankou.