By Eleonora Vasques
(EurActiv) — Iranian women, the activist Mahsa Amini, and opposition movements in Iran have been nominated as candidates for the EU’s Sakharov prize by the European Parliament’s political leaders.
Established in 1988, the Sakharov award was named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov.
The first winners were anti-Apartheid activist and South African former-president Nelson Mandela and Soviet dissident and author Anatoli Marchenko.
In 2022, the prize was awarded to the people of Ukraine.
More specifically, the EPP nominated “Mahsa Amini and the women of Iran,” S&D proposed “Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement”, and Renew Europe chose “Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement, Iran”.
Mahsa Amini was an Iranian activist killed in September 2022 because she refused to wear the Hijab, mandatory in Iran. Since then, people in Iran started a wide range of protests against the government for its oppression towards women.
The other candidates are the “Afghan education activists: Marzia Amiri, Parasto Hakim, and Matiullah Wesa, Afghanistan”, nominated by 59 MEPs, “the pro-European people of Georgia and Nino Lomjaria, former Public Defender of Georgia”, nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Elon Musk, nominated by Identity and Democracy (ID), the climate activist in Uganda Vanessa Nakate, chosen by the Greens/EFA, Vilma Núñez de Escorcia and Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez Lagos from Nicaragua, nominated by 43 MEPs, and “Women fighting for free, safe and legal abortion,” more specifically, Justyna Wydrzyńska (from Poland), Morena Herrera (from El Salvador), and Colleen McNichols (from the United States), nominated by The Left.
To stand as a candidate, at least 40 MEPs have to support a nomination while member states can support only one candidate. In October, MEPs will vote on the three finalists, which will all be invited to attend the final ceremony that will be held in the Strasbourg plenary session in December.
The leaders of the Parliament’s political groups and the President of Parliament, Roberta Metsola, will make the final decision on the winner, which will be announced in October.