David Sassoli, the European Parliament president, presented the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Belarusian national leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and other leaders of the democratic opposition in Bearus. The ceremony took place in Brussels on Wednesday, 16 December.
Presenting the award David Sassoli said: “The whole world is aware of what is happening in your country. We see your courage. We see the courage of women. We see your suffering. We see the unspeakable abuses. We see the violence. Your aspiration and determination to live in a democratic country inspires us.”
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who ran for president in the elections after the arrest of her husband who was a previous candidate, said: “Each and every Belarusian who takes part in the peaceful protest against violence and lawlessnes is a hero. Each of them is an example of courage, compassion, and dignity.
[…] They march for the freedom and dignity of Belarusians, of Europeans, yours and ours. We are bound to win and we will win, Without a free Belarus, Europe is not truly free either. Long live Europe, long live Belarus!” She also added: “I have only one wish this year. I want every Belarusian who is now in jail or was forced to live in exile to return home.”
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov. It has been awarded each year since 1988 to those recognised for defending human rights and freedom of thought. It consists of a certificate and €50,000.