27 Sep 2018 15:31

Sentsov on initial list of candidates for 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

BRUSSELS. Sept 27 (Interfax) - Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is serving 20 years in prison in Russia on terrorism charges, has been included in the preliminary list of candidates for the European Parliament's 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The presentation of the nominees for the award was held at a joint meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Development and the Subcommittee on Human Rights in Brussels on Thursday.

Sentsov was nominated by the European Parliament's largest political faction, the European People's Party (EPP).

Factions and groups of deputies in the European Union have put forward eight people and non-governmental organizations as candidates for this year's prize, which is intended to honor those who defend democracy and basic rights around the world.

Following a debate, all eight were included in the initial list.

It was announced that a shortlist of three candidates will be determined through a vote at a similar joint meeting on October 9.

The schedule of further events was also presented. A general conference of representatives of European Parliament factions will choose the winner and announce their decision in Strasbourg on October 25.

The award ceremony will be held at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on December 12.

On September 18, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada nominated Sentsov for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In August 2015, the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Sentsov, who was detained in Crimea in 2014, to 20 years in a high-security penitentiary for plotting a terrorist attack there.

Sentsov went on hunger strike on May 14, 2018 and demanded that all Ukrainians held in Russia for political reasons be freed.

Sentsov's lawyers have said that their client is not going to ask the Russian president to pardon him.