Parliament praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vocal criticism for his courage in the fight for freedom, democracy and human rights. Navalny is now serving a 2.5-year prison sentence for violating an earlier sentence on a charge of embezzlement. The European Court of Human Rights considers his trial unfair.
“Alexei Navalny has shown great courage in trying to give the Russian people a free choice again. For many years he fought for human rights and parliamentary freedom in his country. It cost him his freedom and almost his life, “said Hautal. “On behalf of the European Parliament, I call for his immediate and unconditional release,” she added.
Mr. Putin, release Navalny
This year’s prize winner was decided by the chairmen of the parliamentary political groups, while Navalný was nominated by representatives of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Renew Europe faction. “Mr. Putin, release Alexei Navalny,” the EPP said in her official Twitter account. “Europe is calling for the freedom of him and all other political prisoners,” the statement said.
Other nominees included imprisoned Bolivian ex-president Jeanine Áňez and a group of Afghan activists. The EP has decided to appreciate Afghan women by devoting a whole week to activities aimed at stimulating public interest in their situation, Hautal said.
Behind bars since returning to Russia
He has been in prison since January. He was arrested immediately after his return from Germany, where he was treated for poisoning with the nerve agent Novičok. The opposition attributes the attack on its person to Putin and the Russian secret service FSB, but the Kremlin denies all allegations.
Parliament has awarded the prize – named after the leading Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov – every year since 1988 for the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Parliament will officially award the award at a ceremony scheduled for 15 December in Strasbourg, but Navalny will most likely not be able to receive it in person.