Anti-Putin activist Navalny wins Sakharov Prize

The European Parliament said Wednesday it has awarded this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Parliament President David Sassoli said Navalny “has campaigned consistently against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” Sassoli also said the European Parliament recognizes “his immense personal bravery” and reiterates its “unwavering support for his immediate release.”

Navalny fell unconscious while traveling on a domestic flight in Russia in August last year. He was flown for treatment to Germany, where doctors found he had been poisoned with a nerve agent resembling toxic chemicals developed by the former Soviet Union.

The United States and the European Union believe Russian authorities were involved in Navalny’s poisoning.

Navalny was arrested in January after returning to Russia from Germany.

A group supporting him said on social media that he is a politician who has fought for justice despite threats of assassination.

The Sakharov Prize is awarded every year to individuals and groups that have helped protect human rights. It is named after Soviet physicist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov.

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