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Crimean Tatar Leader Heads List Of EU Sakharov Prize Candidates

  • RFE/RL

Mustafa Dzhemilev, 72, has been banned from Crimea since Russia invaded and annexed the peninsula in early 2014.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, 72, has been banned from Crimea since Russia invaded and annexed the peninsula in early 2014.

BRUSSELS -- Crimean leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, Yazidi activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, and Turkish journalist Can Dundar have been named as the final candidates for the 2016 Sakharov Prize given annually by the European Parliament.

Dzhemilev, 72, has been banned from Crimea since Russia invaded and annexed the peninsula in early 2014.

He was the chairman of the Crimean Tatars' Mejlis, or council, until it was banned by pro-Moscow representatives in Crimea.

He was a leading human rights activist during the Soviet era and was jailed several times.

Murad and Aji Bashar were both captured by the Islamic State extremist group and enslaved when their village in northern Iraq was taken over by the militants in 2014.

They managed to escape and are now promoting women's and minority rights. The pair was nominated by both the social-democratic group and the liberal group in the parliament.

Can Dundar is the former editor in chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet and was arrested when his newspaper reported that the Turkish intelligence service was smuggling arms to rebels in Syria. He is backed by the Greens as well as the far-right and far-left parties in the parliament.

The trio were shortlisted by members of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Development committees.

The winner -- who will receive 50,000 euros ($55,000) -- will be decided by the European Parliament president and the leaders of the eight political groups in the assembly on October 27.

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