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European Parliament To Name Short List For Sakharov Prize

  • RFE/RL

Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev and two Yazidi women, Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar, are the favorites to win the 2016 Sakharov Prize after all the nominees for the human rights prize were presented at the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on October 6.

Dzhemilev is a well-known Soviet-era human rights activist and former chairman of the Meijlis of the Crimean Tatars who has been banned from Crimea since the illegal Russian annexation of the peninsula in 2014. He is backed by the two center-right groups in the European Parliament.

The social-democratic groups and the liberal group have put forward Murad Basee and Aji Bashar. Both were abducted by Islamic State militants when their village in northern Iraq was taken over by the militant group in 2014. They escaped and are now advocates for the Yazidi community.

The Turkish journalist Can Dundar is an outsider for the prize, backed by the Greens, a far-right group, and the far left. He is the former editor in chief for the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet and was arrested when his newspaper reported that the Turkish intelligence service was smuggling arms to rebels in Syria.

Ilham Tohti, an advocate for China's Uyghur minority, is the final candidate.

The Parliament's committees on foreign affairs and development will shortlist three candidates on October 11 before the parliament president and the chairpersons of the eight political groups decide on a winner on October 27.