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Sakharov Prize for Freedom and Thought

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause.

The European Parliament 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded to Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov.  Mr Sentsov is a Ukrainian film director who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for “plotting terrorist acts” against the Russian “de facto” rule in Crimea.

"Through his courage and determination, by putting his life in danger, the film maker Oleg Sentsov has become a symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world. By awarding him the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament is expressing its solidarity with him and his cause. We ask that he be released immediately. His struggle reminds us that it is our duty to defend human rights everywhere in the world and under all circumstances" - Antonio Tajani, EP President  

The Sakharov award ceremony was held in Strasbourg on 12 December 2018.

Press Release
Find out more about the Sakharov Prize


*On 7 September 2019, Oleg Sentsov was released as part of an agreement between Russia and Ukraine on an exchange of groups of prisoners.