Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich at the European Parliament in April (epa)
August 30, 2006 -- A group of European lawmakers have nominated Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich for this year's Sakharov Prize.
The European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Belarus said that in this year's presidential election Milinkevich had shown "courage to challenge Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the last dictator of Europe."
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was set up in 1988.
It is awarded each year by the European Parliament on or around December 10.
The prize is worth 50,000 euros.
(www.charter 97.org, Belapan)
Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania
WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)
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Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.
MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.
Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.