Ethiopian opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa, Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas are the three shortlisted finalists for the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The winner will be announced on Thursday, 21 October, by the President of the European Parliament, following a decision of the Conference of political group leaders. The winner will receive €50,000 and will be invited to participate in the award ceremony on 15 December, in Strasbourg.
Birtukan MIDEKSA, an Ethiopian politician and former judge, is the leader of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. On December 28 2008, Birtukan Mideska was re-arrested and imprisoned to serve a life sentence, after having spoken in Sweden with journalists about the way opposition leaders were released in her country. She was released from prison at the beginning of October, after almost two years’ incarceration. “The Saharov prize should be given to those who need international visibility and protection. Birtukan Mideksa needs both. By awarding the Saharov prize to Birtukan Mideksa, representing all Ethiopian political prisoners, the European Parliament would bring hope and would call attention to this young mother, one of the few female party leaders in Africa. It would also guarantee visibility of the struggle of thousands of forgotten political prisoners who fight for justice, the rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia”, declared Adrian Severin (S&D, RO).
Nominated by Martin Schulz on behalf of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D).
March4freedom asks its members and Ethiopian across the globe to write EU members/representatives in support of Birtukan and the struggle of thousands of forgotten political prisoners who fight for justice, the rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia.