04:47 GMT +3 hours25 November 2014
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Pussy Riot Nominated for Sakharov Prize

Russia
(updated 18:28 28.10.2014)
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Three jailed members of the punk group Pussy Riot were nominated by the European Parliament for a prestigious prize named after Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov.

Three jailed members of the punk group Pussy Riot were nominated by the European Parliament for a prestigious prize named after Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich, who were sentenced last month to two years in prison for their "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral in February, were nominated by German parliament member Werner Schulz for the "For freedom of thought" award, otherwise known as the Sakharov Prize.

Other nominees include Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, as well as members of the Rwandan and Iranian opposition.

The candidates will be officially presented on September 25 in Brussels. The winner will be chosen in December in Strasbourg.

The Sakharov Prize, which comes with a 50,000 euro award, is given to individuals and organizations who have made a special contribution to the protection of human rights.

Nelson Mandela and Soviet dissident Anatoly Marchenko, who died in prison in 1986, were the first to be awarded the prize in 1988.