Among the nominees for the European Parliament’s 2014 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought are: a law professor and a Christian religious leader in Iraq, an Azerbaijani rights defender, and Ukraine’s pro-Western Euromaidan movement.
While the two Iraqi nominees — Mahmud Al ‘Asali (killed in July) and the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, Louis Raphael Sako — have both spoken out against anti-Christian persecution in Iraq, Azerbaijani nominee Leyla Yunus has been involved in people-to-people diplomacy with Armenian rights activists and is currently in pretrial detention on high treason charges.
The Euromaidan movement derived from a wave of pro-EU demonstrations across Ukraine that led to President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster in February.
The shortlist made of three finalists will be presented by the European Parliament next month. The winner will receive the Sakharov Prize of 50,000 euro ($64,200) which is awarded annualy in the honor of defenders of human rights and freedom of expression.