Three left in the race for Europe's Sakharov Prize

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Three left in the race for Europe's Sakharov Prize

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Just three candidates are left in the race for the 2007 Sakharov Prize, Europe’s prestigious award for the defence of human rights and freedom of expression.

The Prize was created in 1988 in memory of the Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov. Its first winner was Nelson Mandela.

This year’s final trio include the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent critic of the Kremlin, and its war in Chechnya.

Also nominated are the Chinese couple Hu Jia and Zheng Jinyan, whose internet blog denounces Beijing’s violations of human rights in their country.

But the favourite is Sudanese lawyer Salih Mahmoud Osman, a tireless defender of the victims of the war in Darfour.

European MPs will decide. Osman is supported by more than 180 of them in a broad group.

The Greens prefer the Chinese couple, while Anna Politkovskaya is nominated posthumously by the biggest group in parliament, the conservatives.

The prize will be awarded in December in Strasbourg.