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Memorial's Sakharov Prize ceremony in Strasbourg

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Memorial's Sakharov Prize ceremony in Strasbourg


The Russian human rights defence organisation Memorial and its three leaders have received the European Parliament’s 2009 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, named after the late physicist-turned-dissident.

Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva are among the rare public critics in Russia of the current Moscow regime’s performance on human rights — in their country and its backyard.

The past year has taken a heavy toll. One of Memorial’s founders paid tribute in Strasbourg to soldiers of conscience.

Sergei Kovalev said: “This prize is theirs by right. The first is Natalia Estemirova, human rights defender and fellow member of Memorial, shot in Chechnya. Among others I should also mention Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer; Anna Politkovskaya and Anastasia Baburova, journalists, killed in Moscow; Nikolai Girenko, an ethnologist, shot in St-Petersburg; Farid Babaev, killed in Dagestan and many others. Sadly this list could go on. Please rise to honor the memory of these people.”

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