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Sakharov Network welcomes Russian NGO among its ranks

October 22, 2009

The Sakharov Network of former winners of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought hails today′s European Parliament decision to award this year′s prize to Memorial, an NGO that defends human rights in countries of the former Soviet Union.

"Taken in a particularly ill-fated year for Memorial, this decision is all the more important as it pays tribute to decades of exemplary work by an NGO founded by veteran dissidents and now run by human rights activists whose courage and tenacity have earned respect and admiration," the Sakharov Network said. "The award also serves as a reminder that Russian civil society is capable of tackling issues that are essential for both the present and the future, and capable of fighting to defend the human rights of Russia′s citizens.

"We will invite Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Oleg Orlov and Sergey Kovalev of Memorial to join the Sakharov Network in the coming days. It will be a great honour for us to count such distinguished people among our ranks. We pledge now that Memorial will receive solidarity and support from each of us whenever it is necessary.

"We also express our heartfelt support for the friends and families of Memorial members, especially the family of Natalia Estemirova, who was brutally murdered on 15 July and who will therefore be unable to join her colleagues in receiving recognition for the extraordinary work that she carried out alongside them.

"Our thoughts also go out to the imprisoned Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak and the Palestinian physician Izzeldin Abuelaish, who were shortlisted for this European Parliament honour and who also deserved it. We are more and more worried about the health of Dawit Isaak, who must be freed without delay. The Sakharov Network will also continue to support Izzeldin Abuelaish and his search for a lasting peace."

- Aung San Suu Kyi (1990 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Adem Demaçi (1991 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1992 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Oslobodjenje (1993 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Taslima Nasreen (1994 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Leyla Zana (1995 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Wei Jingsheng (1996 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Salima Ghezali (1997 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Basta Ya (2000 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Dom Zacarias Kamwenho (2001 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Nurit Peled-Elhanan and Izzat Ghazzawi (2001 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Oswaldo José Paya Sardinas (2002 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Belarus Association of Journalists – BAJ (2004 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Women in White (2005 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Hauwa Ibrahim (2005 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Reporters Without Borders (2005 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Alexander Milinkevich (2006 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Salih Mahmoud Mohamed Osman (2007 Sakharov Prize winner)
- Hu Jia (2008 Sakharov Prize winner)

For more information contact:
Sakharov Network

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