European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought Panel Discussion

18 October 2012, 17.30 - 19.30 
Wolfson Medical School, Seminar Room 3 (Gannochy), University Avenue

C8 on campus map:

Please register by Tues 16 October: 

The European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded annually to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.  Like Andrei Sakharov himself, all the winners of the prize have shown how much courage it takes to defend human rights and freedom of expression.

The European Parliament Office in Scotland and the Glasgow Human Rights Network host this event at which students will mirror the process by which MEPs choose the winner of the Sakharov Prize.  Students will present and argue the case for each nominee to receive the prize.  Presentations will be followed by a discussion and vote among those present to determine the shortlist.  After a further discussion, a vote will be taken to choose a winner - and we will see if the choice in Glasgow is the same as the choice made in Brussels!

Full details of the 2012 Sakharov Prize can be found on the European Parliament website.

This year's nominees

  • Ales Bialiatski is an imprisoned civil society activist fighting for freedom of thought and expression in Belarus.  He founded the Viasna Human Rights Centre, a nongovernmental organisation which provides financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families.  Nominated by MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski and 82 other MEPs.
  • Joseph Francis is the founder and director of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).  Founded in 1992, CLAAS addresses the needs of victims of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, through legal assistance and if necessary by providing shelter and relocation.  Nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group
  • Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Déogratias Mushayidi, Bernard Ntaganda are imprisoned Rwandan opposition politicians who tried to put an end to the violence in their country by fostering dialogue and reconciliation.  Nominated by MEPs Willy Meyer, Rosa Estaràs, Santiago Fisas, María Muñiz, Ana Miranda and 37 other MEPs.  
  • Pussy Riot is a band from Russia.  Three of its members - Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina - were arrested after protesting in a cathedral against Russian president Vladimir Putin.  They were sentenced to two years in a labour camp.  Nominated by MEP Werner Schulz and 45 other MEPs.
  • Nasrin Sotoudeh, Jafar Panahi - Nasrin Sotoudeh is an imprisoned Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate.  She represented imprisoned opposition activists and juvenile offenders facing the death sentence.  Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor.  His films often focus on the hardship children, the impoverished and women face.  Nominated by the Social-Democrat group, the Liberal-Democrat group, the Greens/European Free Alliance group as well as by MEPs José Ignacio Salafranca, Elmar Brok and 11 other MEPs.

The event will conclude with refreshments in the Atrium. 

All are welcome – event is free of charge - however registration is essential.  Please register via: by Tues 16 October.

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