EP awards Sakharov Prize 2017 to Democratic Opposition in Venezuela
Venezuela’s democratic opposition is this year’s laureate of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 13 December.
The Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González was announced this year Sakharov prize laureate, following a decision by the Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the leaders of the political groups on 26 October.
Democratic Opposition in Venezuela
For the last several years, Venezuela has been in political crisis. The ruling party has steadily limited the rule of law of and the constitutional order, and in March 2017 the Supreme Court stripped the democratically elected National Assembly of legislative power.
At the same time, the number of political prisoners has amounted to more than six hundred, according to the latest report of Foro Penal Venezolano (Venezuelan Penal Forum). Among the political prisoners are prominent opposition leaders Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González.
While Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo López was temporarily granted house arrest in July after more than three years in detention, he was transferred back to prison in August 2017. Another prominent opposition politician and former mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledesma, has been under house arrest since 2015, while fellow former mayors Alfredo Ramos, of Iribarren, and Daniel Ceballos, of San Cristobal, have also been imprisoned, as well as a student activist Lorent Saleh. Two Spanish citizens, Andrea Gonzalez and Yon Goicoechea, are among the political prisoners.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 130 people have been killed in street protests, most of them in anti-government demonstrations and more than 500 people have been arbitrarily imprisoned.
The prize, consisting of a certificate and €50,000, will the awarded in a ceremony in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 December 2017.