Ukrainian cinematographer Oleg Sentsov, who was one of the most prominent political prisoners in Russia, will receive last year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament on November 26.
The award ceremony will take place at the EU’s legislative chamber in Strasbourg, where Sentsov will address the parliament at noon local time.
Sentsov, 43, until September 7 had been serving a 20-year prison sentence on what international, Russian, and Ukrainian rights groups said were trumped-up charges of “plotting terrorist acts” against Russia in Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in early 2014.
He had opposed and refused to recognize Moscow’s imposed rule on the Ukrainian territory.
He was incarcerated for more than five years, and spent 145 days on hunger strike in 2018, demanding that Russia release all of its Ukrainian political prisoners.
Last year, the European Parliament awarded Sentsov the Sakharov Prize while he was still imprisoned.
It was for “for freedom of thought and in recognition of his peaceful protest against the illegal occupation of his native Crimea, as well as for courage, determination and belief in supporting human dignity, democracy, the rule of law and human rights,” said Michael Gahler, a member of the European People’s Party, who nominated him.
Individuals or organizations are honored with the prize for defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named after Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov.