"It is an honor to announce that the women and men of the democratic opposition in Belarus are the 2020 Sakharov Prize laureates," European Parliament President David Sassoli told European lawmakers.
The award will go to several opposition figures, including presidential candidate Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya; Maryya Kalesnikava; Veranika Tsapkalo; Volha Kavalkova; and Syarhey Dyleuski; as well as Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich; Tsikhanouskaya's imprisoned husband, Syarhey Tsikhanouski; the founder of the Telegram channel NEXTA, Stsyapan Putsila; Ales Byalyatski from the human rights organization Vyasna; and political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich, who was a presidential candidate in the 2010 election.
"They have shown and continue to show their strength in face of a very powerful adversary, but what keeps them going is the conviction that violence can never defeat the truth," Sassoli said.
As we reported earlier, Norwegian MP, Geir Toskedal, has nominated Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maryya Kalesnikova, and Veronika Tsapkalo "for their struggle for fair elections and for inspiring peaceful opposition against the illegitimate regime in Belarus".
"Opposition politicians in Belarus have fantastic courage. They organise peaceful demonstrations, even though the authorities are using increasing violence against them," Toskedal said.