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ECR nominee for the Sakharov Prize, Mustafa Dzhemilev, has made it to the shortlist


11 Oct 2016


Global Europe
Justice & Home Affairs

Brussels, 11th October 2016 -- Today the committees on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights and Development in the European Parliament have voted on the shortlist of nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize. The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group has nominated Crimean Tatar Mustafa Dzhemilev, a strong and persistent individual for the prestigious prize who has been added to the shortlist of the final three.

The European Parliament grants the Sakharov Prize every year to a human rights defender or group of significance. The highlight of this award helps to promote human rights and to underline the fact that they are worth fighting for.

The 72-year old Mustafa Dzhemilev has been a symbol of the struggle of Tatars to return to their homeland Crimea. He has spent his entire life fighting for his people and for human rights in general. The Soviet regime deported him and his family, when he was only six months old and Mustafa grew up in exile in Uzbekistan. At an early age, Mustafa and his activist friends established the Union of Young Crimean Tatars striving for the recognition of the rights of Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland. He has spent 15 years in jail with almost one year on hunger strike for defending human rights. When he returned to Crimea with his family in 1989, he was elected leader of the new Crimean Tatar National Movement. He was banned from entering his homeland, when he opposed Russia’s aggression following the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. As a politician in Ukraine, Mustafa Dzhemilev now continues! his fight to defend human rights and to oppose the Russian dominance in Ukraine.

ECR Foreign Affairs spokesman, Charles Tannock MEP, who made a presentation of Mustafa Dzhemilev during the last committee session, said:

“Dzhemilev has spent nearly his entire life fighting for the rights of his people and their right to reside in their homeland of Crimea.  At a time when the Crimean Tatars once again face  persecution following Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine, this is an appropriate moment to recognize his lifetime commitment and for the European Union to once again demonstrate its support for the Crimean Tatars and the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

Mark Demesmaeker MEP, ECR Group Human Rights spokesman added:

“Rarely do we see a person so dedicated that they spend a whole lifteime defending their ideas. Dzhemilev deserves our recognition.”

The decision on this year’s winner will be made by the Conference of Presidents (the political group leaders) on Thursday 27th October.


Contact: ECR Press Office, Christina Fogh Rasmussen on +32 475 780819

The ECR was created to take the EU in a new direction, according to the principles of our founding Prague Declaration.

For more information on the ECR, watch our promotional video at or visit our website:


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