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Sakharov Award 2017 to the Venezuelan opposition

The European Parliament has made public this Thursday the name of the winner of the highest community distinction in the field of human rights

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Sakharov Award 2017 to the Venezuelan opposition

This Thursday European Parliament has granted Sakharov Award for Freedom of conscience to Venezuelan democratic opposition. The or finalists were Guatemalan indigenous activist Aura Lolita Chávez Ixcaquic, defender of environment and human rights, and Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, imprisoned since 2001 for publishing favorable information to opening In African country.

The award, which will be announced at noon today by President of Parliament, Antonio Tajani, in Strasbourg, is maximum recognition granted by Community institutions to people who have distinguished mselves for ir defence of human rights, and is endowed with With 50,000 euros for winner, but above all, recognition of European Union represents a powerful speaker to give global resonance to situations of injustice.

Breaking NEWS: Democratic oppositions political prisoners in Venezuela are winners of 2017 SakharovPrize Https://t.co/T215hIxrff PIC.TWITTER.COM/TABQSPRBHD

— Guy Verhofstadt (@GuyVerhofstadt) 26 October 2017

The prize personifies Movement for democratic freedoms in July Borges, President of National Assembly, and in all political prisoners, among whom he cites seven leaders currently in prison or house arrest: Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González.

The designation of Venezuelan opposition was promoted by European People's Party and ALDE Liberal Group. With his election, parliament launches a new message to Venezuelan government. The European Parliament has been most forceful of Community institutions when it comes to supporting demands of opponents. This summer he vehemently criticized authoritarian drift of government of Nicolas Maduro and from outset announced that he would not recognise Constituent Assembly, organ with which he has supplanted opposition-controlled National Assembly. Community pressure towards democratic deficit in Venezuela has been on rise in recent weeks, and possibility of heads of government deciding to impose sanctions has been gaining weight.

This was second time that Venezuelan opposition became a finalist. The previous was two years ago, when Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was one. Far from being a mere instrument of symbolic homage, decoration is a sort of activism made from institutions that tries to push a cause. In what goes of century, three or Latin American candidacies have received prize, all of m Cuban: dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Guillermo Fariñas received it in 2002 and 2010 respectively, whereas in 2005 it was to stop ladies in white, collective Formed by mors and wives of Cuban leaders imprisoned by regime.

The voice of Guatemalan indigenism

Guatemalan activist Aura Lolita Chávez Ixcaquic, of 45 years, option defended by Group of Greens, was or option to bring Sakharov back to Latin America. Persecuted and threatened by its defense of human rights and environment, Lolita, as it is popularly known, is an educator in Mayan indigenous community K'iche ' and leads its Council of peoples.

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In command of this Organization, which brings toger 87 indigenous communities, Chávez has led numerous struggles against large mining and hydroelectric projects posed by multinationals in area, warning of its harmful effects on nature to Contamination by toxic metals, diversion of watercourses or logging of forests. This militancy has cost him attempts to discredit her by means of false allegations and has jeopardized his life. In summer of 2012, after participating in a peaceful demonstration, he was ambushed by a group of men armed with machetes, knives and sticks. It came out unscad, but four women were injured in aggression. Weeks earlier, one of delegates of entity, José Tavico Tzunun, was gunned down in his house.

More recently, in June of this year, Chávez and several members of his organization made a truckload of wood stop. After checking that he lacked forestry permits, he was escorted to authorities until a dozen armed men appeared in a van and threatened activists with sexual assault. As Amnesty International recounts, aggressors caused ir escape and chased m into air.

A journalist imprisoned 16 years

The alternative to Latin American candidacies was that of Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, proposed by Socialist and Democratic group. A fact speaks for itself of price it has paid for making use of freedom of expression: in a few days it will be 53 years, of which almost a third has passed behind bars without being subjected to any trial and has not even been formally charged with any Crime. In September 2001 he was detained at his home in a police operation against several private media outlets in which or informers and owners of publications were arrested under argument of representing a threat to state security and treason. Isaak founded Independent newspaper Setit, closed by government, and according to Reporters Without Borders he was imprisoned for having written in favor of Democratic liberties.

The dictatorial Eritrean regime of Issaias Afewerki keeps him locked up without even revealing where he is despite efforts of Swedish Government and various non-governmental organizations, which has shot rumors about his death on several occasions. Fears about fragility of ir health after so many years interned in harsh Eritrean prisons persist. According to information available, at that time he has only left his confinement for two days in 2005 to be attended by a doctor. Last year Eritrean executive confirmed that he was still alive, but has not set a date for his release. For past eight years, Reporters Without Borders ' press freedom Index systematically places Eritrea in position 180, last of all countries assessed.

As in Germany with book The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie when Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for death of writer, Swedish publishers joined in 2010 to translate and publish some of ir texts toger. Isaak lived in Nordic country from 1987 until Eritrea became independent of Ethiopia in 1993, and obtained Swedish nationality one year before returning to his country.

This year journalist received UNESCO's Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award, one of most prestigious. "Will it help?" Will it help anyone to visit him, to know if he is still alive and has not run same fate as seven of eleven journalists who were imprisoned with him, and who have committed suicide or died in prison?, he wondered bitterly in a tribune written in this Diar Last March Malén Aznárez, president of Reporters Without Borders, died at end of July.

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