October 11, following the vote of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Development Committees, three candidates were identified for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the press service of the European Parliament reports.

The leader of the Crimean Tatar people, MP Mustafa Dzhemilev became one of the nominees for the prestigious award.

The list of major nominees included three candidates:

Can Dündar

Can Dündarn the former editor-in-chief of Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, was arrested last November after his newspaper reported on Turkey’s intelligence service smuggling arms to rebels in Syria. He was later sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for "revealing state secrets", survived an assassination attempt and now lives in exile.

Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar

Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar. are advocates for the Yazidi community and for women surviving sexual enslavement by Islamic State. They are both from Kocho, one of the villages near Sinjar, Iraq, which was taken over  by Islamic State in the summer of 2014, and are among the thousands of Yazidi girls and women abducted by Islamic State militants and forced into sex slavery. Murad is also a promoter for recognition of the Yazidi genocide.

Mustafa Dzhemilev

In the European Parliament, Mustafa Dzhemilev is presented as a former Soviet dissident and Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and the Ukrainian deputy who defends human rights and ethnic minorities for more than half a century.

“He was six months old when he and his family were deported to central Asia along with all other Crimean Tatars and was only able to come back 45 years later. Now, after Russia annexed Crimea, the human rights activist is again barred from entering the peninsula,” the press-service reported.


The Sakharov prize for Freedom of was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament.

At the time, Sakharov played a positive role in the life of the Soviet political prisoner, Mustafa Dzhemilev, he appealed the UN and the "Islamic Conference" in an attempt to draw the world's attention to the fate of the Crimean Tatar. Sakharov wrote to Dzhemilev asking to stop a nine-month protest hunger strike in custody. Once in an interview Dzhemilev said: "... I stayed alive, probably due to Sakharov."

Ukrainian media have included Mustafa Dzhemilev on the list of some of the most prominent Ukrainian prisoners of the Moscow regime over the past four centuries.

Mustafa Dzhemilev is one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement, the human rights activist, a member of the dissident movement of the Soviet Union, the People's Deputy of Ukraine. In 1969, Mustafa Dzhemilev became one of the founders and members of the Action Group on Protection of Human Rights in the USSR, and fought for the rights of the Crimean Tatar people on its behalf, as well as for their political rehabilitation and return to historical homeland.

During the Soviet era Dzhemilev was arrested six times for his activities. In total, he spent fifteen years in prison: he was held in captivity in 1966-1967, 1969-1972, 1974-1975, 1975-1976, 1983-1986, respectively, and in 1979-1982 was in exile in Yakutia.

Since Ukraine proclaimed Independence, Dzhemilev became an active figure in the political life of the country. Since 1998 he has been a Ukrainian MP.

Following the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by Russian in 2014, Dzhemilev continued to defend the rights of the Crimean Tatars at all levels. He was appointed Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Crimean Tatar people.