A law professor and a Christian religious leader in Iraq, an Azerbaijani rights defender, and Ukraine's pro-Western Euromaidan movement are among the nominees for the European Parliament’s 2014 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.
The two Iraqi nominees -- Mahmud Al 'Asali and the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Raphael Sako -- have both spoken out against anti-Christian persecution in Iraq. Asali was killed in July.
Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus, who has been involved in people-to-people diplomacy with Armenian rights activists, is currently in pretrial detention on high treason charges.
The Euromaidan movement derived from a wave of pro-EU demonstrations across Ukraine that led to President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster in February.
Two European Parliament committees will shortlist three finalists next month.
The 50,000 euro ($64,200) Sakharov Prize is awarded annually to honor defenders of human rights and freedom of expression.