Ex-hostage French-Colombian anti-corruption militant Ingrid Betancourt tops the official list of candidates for this year’s Sakharov Prize to be considered by the European Parliament.
Next alphabetically are the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the European Roma Rights Centre, Hu Jia the Chinese civil rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner in Belarus Alexander Kozouline.
The nominating committee also ratified Congolese human rights defender Abbé Apollinaire Malu Malu, his Russian confrere Mikhail Trepachkine and the head of the opposition in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai.
A shortlist of three candidates will be drawn up this month, the topmost decided in October, with the award to be given at a formal ceremony in December.
The Sakharov Prize named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov is the European Parliament’s foremost prize to honour individuals and organisations working in defence of human rights and freedoms. This is its 20th anniversary.