The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience awarded each year to the European Parliament in recognition of the struggle for Human Rights it has been up in 2020 the belarusian opposition. This was announced on Thursday, the president of the european Parliament, David Sassoli, who pointed in particular to the opposition leader belarus and former presidential candidate, Svetlana Tijanóvskaya, the Nobel prize of Literature, Svetlana Alexiévich, and to the three activists, Mary Kolésnikova, Olga Kovalkova and Veronika Tsepkalo.

The belarusian opposition was the favorite to receive the award, ahead of the environmental activist murdered Berta Cáceres and the roman catholic archbishop of Mosul, Najib Mussa. Tijanóvskaya, Alexiévich, Kolésnikova, Kovalkova and Tsepkalo constitute the core of the protest movement against the president, Alexander Lukashenko, the “Europe’s last dictator”, by the manipulation of the electoral results of August 9. The mobilizations continue from then, on all Sundays, with the participation of tens of thousands of people, but they are being repressed with great harshness and detainees are already in the thousands.

The detractors of the belarus regime created the so-called Coordination Council with the intention of opening a line of dialogue with Lukashenko and negotiate a way out of the crisis, but was accused of try to usurp the power. All its components are imprisoned, including Kolésnikova, five are under house arrest and the rest in exile. Tijanóvskaya is located in Lithuania, Alexiévich in Germany and Kovalkova and Tsepkalo in Poland.

The October 13, Tijanóvskaya gave Lukashenko 13 days, which expire this Sunday, so I resign, stop the repression and violence and release all political prisoners. The opposition leader called for a general strike if the “self-proclaimed” president does not meet the requirements of the job.

“We’re on your side”

The announcement of the award to the belarusian opposition came a day after the European Parliament demanded the EU review “exhaustive” in its relations with the exrepública soviet after activating sanctions against officials of Minsk, which would include the own Lukashenko. Sassoli stressed the “courage, strength and determination” of the winners. “We have remained steadfast in front of an opponent much stronger. But they have on their side something that the brute force can never overcome, and it is the truth. Know that we are on their side,” he said.

The european Parliament approved on Wednesday by 602 votes in favour (44 against and 44 abstentions), a statement in which it notes that Tijanóvskaya was the one that obtained more than half of the votes in the elections, recognizes the Council of Coordination as representative of “legitimate” of the people, demands the immediate cessation of “the violence, the torture and the cruel repression against peaceful protesters, and that all political prisoners and representatives of the civil society and journalists in prison be released immediately and unconditionally”. Similarly, it requires the EU to implement the sanctions agreed ‘as soon as possible”.

The award ceremony of the Sakharov Prize will be the 16th of December. This award, established in 1988, was named in honor of the scientist and soviet dissident, Andrei Sakharov. The candidates receive are submitted by meps and the political groups in the European Parliament. The commission of Foreign affairs will select three finalists and is the Conference of Presidents appoints the winner, who will receive, from the hands of Sassoli, the certificate and 50,000 euros.

The satisfaction of the recipients does not put an end to your struggle

The main opposition leader belarus and former presidential candidate, Svetlana Tijanóvskaya showed on Thursday pleased that the European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience, but warns that “the struggle for democracy in Belarus will be long”. So said in an interview with the Youtube channel Irina Shijman.

In statements to the radio station Echo of Moscow, the head of the NGO ” belarusian defender of Human Rights Viasna, Ales Beliatski, has described as “symbolic and very important” the decision of the European Parliament. In his opinion, “this, of course, is a gesture of support and appreciation for the struggle that the belarusian society is waging against the regime of Lukashenko for the rights and democratic freedoms”. Beliatski explained that in the Award of the european Parliament include, in addition to the five women who are leading the opposition, politicians, journalists and human rights activists.

This Thursday, precisely, he was received in Minsk by Lukashenko, the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia (SVR), Sergey Narishkin, who said that “Belarus is still a cause of a great deal of attention on the part of the West.” Narishkin, according to the agencies in russia, replied that “undoubtedly, external forces are trying to change the subvert the state structure of Belarus by methods unconstitutional”.