Sakharov Prize Short List Announced, Pakistani Christian On Death Row Misses Cut

BRUSSELS — European lawmakers have chosen the three finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The European Parliament’s foreign affairs and development committees voted on October 10 to short-list a group of people representing the Venezuelan opposition, Guatemalan human rights defender Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, and the Swedish-Eritrean prisoner of conscience Dawit Isaak.

They were among six nominees for the European Parliament’s prestigious award, which honors individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The three nominees who failed to make the shortlist are Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under Pakistans blasphemy law, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of a pro-Kurdish party in Turkey, and Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a human rights defender from Burundi.

The recipient of the award will be announced on October 26 with a ceremony to take place at the parliament in Strasbourg in December.

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