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EU Parliament Picks Candidates For Sakharov Prize

Sakharov Prize nominee Mukhtar Mai (file photo) 16 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Three former Soviet dissidents have been nominated for the European Union's top human rights award.

The parliament's human rights unit told RFE/RL today that Aleksandr Yesenin-Volpin, Sergei Kovalev, and Latvian Gunars Astra are among 13 individuals or groups nominated for the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Astra died in 1988.

The others include the media rights group Reporters Without Borders; Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani victim of a high-profile rape case; and "cyber dissident" groups that use the Internet to highlight human rights abuses in China, Iran, and Tunisia.

The winner of the 50,000 euro prize, named for Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, will be chosen next month. Past winners include the Belarusian Association of Journalists and the United Nations.