Venezuela’s Democratic Opposition are this year's laureates of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This award supports the fight of democratic forces in favour of a democratic Venezuela and against the Maduro regime, including the country's national assembly (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by the Venezuelan Penal Forum represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González.
The ALDE Group in the European Parliament, which proposed this candidacy together with the European People's Party, encourages the international community to join them in this fight for the freedom of the people of Venezuela.
"The Sakharov Prize is a tool of political activism. It means that European citizens, represented in their Parliament, support the cause for a free and democratic Venezuela," said ALDE Group MEP Beatriz Becerra.
For the last several years, Venezuela has been in a political crisis. The ruling party has steadily limited the rule of law and in March 2017 the country's supreme court stripped the democratically-elected national assembly of legislative power. The number of political prisoners now amounts to more than 600, according to the latest report by the Venezuelan Penal Forum. 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 other finalists were Aura Lolia Chavez and Dawit Isaak. Last year the prize was awarded to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, also proposed by the ALDE Group. You can read more about the Sakharov Prize and the democratic opposition in Venezuela on the European Parliament's website.
The award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 13 December.