Jailed former head of oil giant Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been nominated by European lawmakers for the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize celebrating freedom of thought.
Khodorkovsky’s nomination has been put forward by German Green MEP Werner Schulz and 40 other lawmakers, Radio Free Europe said Friday.
European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, honors people or organizations for their work in the defense of human rights and freedom of expression.
Khodorkovsky, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to eight years in prison on fraud and tax evasion charges two years later. In 2010, a Moscow court found him guilty on related fraud and embezzlement charges, which were denounced by prominent legal experts and lawyers as far more controversial than the charges brought in the first case. Khodorkovsky is expected to be released in August 2014.
Three nominees of the Sakharov Prize will be short-listed on September 30. The conference of presidents, which consists of the leaders of the seven party groups in the parliament, will decide the final winner on October 10, Radio Free Europe said.
Author: Julia Alieva