Уважаемые Господа депутаты!
Правозащитная общественность благодарит Вас за номинацию бывшего политзаключенного и активного правозащитника России Михаила Трепашкина на премию Андрея Сахарова «За свободу мысли». Не смотря на жестокие и пыточные условия содержания под стражей, которые он пережил, по сфабрикованному делу, Михаил Иванович продолжает активно защищать нарушенные права граждан, как в суде (в настоящее время он ведет, участвует, консультирует граждан более чем по 60-ти делам), так и в общественной жизни (является начальником департамента по оказанию правовой помощи незаконно осужденным Общероссийской общественной организации «Комиссия по борьбе с коррупцией»), пишет статьи (только на сайте http://www.vestnikcivitas.ru за последние три месяца им написано – 17 правозащитных статей), занимается научной деятельностью.
Номинация известного правозащитника сейчас в России, это важное и знаковое событие для нашей страны, когда сейчас обострились проблемы обеспечения и защиты прав человека, и где отстаивать права стало достаточно опасным делом.
Этому свидетельствует убийство главы информационного ресурса ингушской оппозиции - адвоката Магомеда Евлоева, оставление в колонии политзаключенного бизнесмена Михаила Ходорковского, отсутствие информации о результатах расследования убийства известной журналистки Анны Политковской, чудовищная ложь в отношении матерей Беслана и ученого, академика РАЕН Григория Грабового и вынесение ему неправосудного приговора, уголовное преследование руководства «Евросети», отсутствие реального расследования сотен погибших во время Бесланского теракта, замалчивание фактов по убийству политического беженца Александра Литвиненко, наличие многих десятков политзаключенных и другое.
Все это на фоне тотальной коррумпированности, уничтожения избирательного права, основ демократического волеизъявления – права на референдум, полного уничтожения независимых СМИ. С учетом многолетнего вымирания народа до одного миллиона человек в год, многолетнего ежегодного закрытия до 500 школ в России, вымирания деревень и сел, разрушения сельскохозяйственного комплекса России. Последовательное разрушение внешне-политических связей государства, как с бывшими республиками СССР, так и практически со всеми странами запада. Попустительство разврата и преступности на телеэкранах и в жизни государства перед эйфорией и вседозволенностью «так называемой элиты» общества, в отсутствие промышленного роста, с колоссальным государственным резервным фондом страны. Наличие карательной правоохранительной системы, когда происходит осуждение и вынесение реальных сроков наказания одному миллиону человек в год и наличие репрессивного характера правосудия, когда практически отсутствуют оправдательные приговоры и существуют пыточные условия содержания людей под стражей. Это наглядные факты существующего режима власти, с чем приходится сталкиваться правозащитникам в России.
Мы благодарим Вас, что Вы не остались безучастными к вопросам обеспечения и защиты прав человека как в нашей стране, так и других стран. Каждый из номинантов является достойным выбором на соискание премии «За свободу мысли». Мы уверены, что Вы сможете сделать правильный и достойный выбор номинанта на премию Андрея Сахарова, которая поднимает статус всего правозащитного движения в мире на более высокий уровень.
Председатель Комитета по защите
прав человека Республики Татарстан,
член Союза журналистов России Князькин С.А.
Движения «За права человека» Пономарев Л.А.
Председатель Комитета «За гражданские права»,
член экспертного Совета при Уполномоченном
по правам человека в РФ Бабушкин А.В.
Директор Московского отделения
фонда «Защита» Федюков О.А.
Руководитель Антивоенного клуба Кригер М.А.
Gerard Batten MEP
Submission to the Committee of Foreign Affairs
Nomination of Mikhail Trepashkin
9th September 2008
Madame Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman.
All of those nominated deserve recognition of their achievements. They have defended Freedom of Thought in their different ways. The very difficult question to answer is who has done so to the greatest degree as laid down in Article 2 of the Statute.
Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin is one of the most prominent dissidents, human rights activists, and until recently, political prisoners, in Russia today.
He was a KGB, and then an FSB, detective from 1979 to 1997. Not all KGB operatives were spies torturers and murderers. Some of them, like our own national internal security services, were concerned with the day-to-day work of investigating organised crime and terrorism. And such was the role of Mikhail Trepashkin.
The fall of the Soviet Union and the Yeltsin Presidency held out the prospect of democracy and the rule of law in Russia. However the failure of the Yeltsin administration to deliver prosperity and democracy and to dismantle the KGB meant that the KGB was able to transform itself into a criminal organisation.
Unrestrained by political ideology or discipline the KGB, now known as the FSB, took over the economic and political structures of the state. Under the leadership of Vladimir Putin it was able by murder, extortion and theft to eventually achieve complete power.
Against this backdrop we can place the story of Mikhail Trepashkin. In the mid 1990s .Trepashkin uncovered evidence that senior FSB officers were involved in corruption, organised crime, extortion, murder and terrorism. This resulted in a campaign of victimisation against him and his unfair dismissal.
Having failed to find justice within the FSB, Trepashkin went public and sued his superiors in court where he revealed facts about their criminal activities.
The FSB responded with attempts to prosecute him on falsified charges. These failed and were followed by attempts on his life. One of the FSB officers ordered to murder him was Alexander Litvinenko. He famously refused to obey the order and instead, Trepashkin. Litvinenko and other FSB officers staged a press conference in 1998 in which they accused their superiors of criminal activities.
In his press conference of 1998 he and his colleagues revealed the FSB's plans for a campaign of political assassinations. This was a last bold attempt to prevent the FSB's advance to achieve authoritarian power in Russia. Sadly it failed, but he defended human rights and fundamental freedoms, which cannot exist without the rule of law. He defended the right to free expression, which if that does not mean the right to expose criminal activity means nothing.
Following his dismissal from the KGB, Trepashkin worked as a lawyer. In particular he represented the Morozov sisters, two survivors of the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. He also advised the Public Commission chaired by Duma Members, Sergei Kovalyov and Sergei Yushenko which conducted an independent investigation into the bombings. Trepashkin uncovered evidence that strongly suggested that the FSB were involved in those crimes. In 2003 both Mr Kovalyov and Mr Yushenko were murdered.
Trepashkin's revelations greatly contributed to the general scepticism towards the Kremlin's war-mongering propaganda against the Chechens. His subsequent imprisonment for four years on trumped-up charges is believed to have been his punishment for trying to reveal the truth about the 1999 Moscow terrorist attacks to the world.
Another independent investigation thwarted by his imprisonment was of the FSB's involvement as agent-provocateurs in the notorious 2002 Nord-Ost theatre hostage taking and the bungled rescue operation that left many dead.
As a prisoner Trepashkin went on fighting for human rights and protesting against the brutal prison conditions. He legally represented many prisoners and was able to obtain improved conditions, and the release of some unjustly detained.
Mr Trepashkin was offered a pardon if he would aid the assassination of his friend Alexander Litvinenko who was living in exile in London. He refused, but warned Mr Litvinenko of the impending plot. Following Mr Litvinenko's murder in 2006 he offered to make a statement to the British police naming the officer who asked him to contribute to Mr Litvinenko's murder but his request was denied by the Russian authorities.
During his time in prison Mr Trepashkin was subjected to ill treatment and denied medical treatment for his chronic bronchial asthma. He was finally released in November 2007 following an international campaign on his behalf. Amnesty International had recognised him as a political prisoner. He now faces the threat of being rearrested and imprisoned on false charges at any time he if continues to speak out against Russia's criminal regime.
Mr Trepashkin has defended the most basic human rights and fundamental freedom to live in state under the rule of law protected from a tyrannical government. He has defended the right to free expression by daring to speak the truth when doing so has cost him his liberty, his health, and could have easily resulted in his death.
He has defended the rights of minorities. In Russia today those prepared to speak out against the criminal regime are quite understandably a minority, whereas we can also be sure that they represent the real wishes of the majority who, like people everywhere, wish to live in peace and under a fair and just legal system.
His activities have upheld up respect for international law so blatantly ignored and contemptuously cast aside by the current Russian regime. Which passed a law allowing the Russian state to murder political opponents on foreign soil if it so wishes. The direct result of which was the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006.
All of Mr Trepashkin's activities have contributed to the development of democracy and the implementation of the rule of law. Listen to how he has been described by Elena Bonner the widow of Andrei Sakharov the man after whom this prize is named. Elena Bonner says, "Thirty years ago at a height of political repression in the Soviet Union, my late husband Andrei Sakharov and I would spend days in front of a courthouse trying to bring the world's attention to the fate of a courageous few who dared to challenge the regime. Mr Trepashkin and his fellow political prisoners are in the same situation as the dissidents from the Soviet days". What higher recommendation could there be?
It is difficult for us who live in free, democratic societies to imaging the sheer courage that is required to stand up to a criminal regime such as that in Russia. To do so risks life and liberty, and not just your own but that of your family and friends. Mr Trepashkin has that unbelievable courage and strength of character. He does what he does because he simply has the conviction to stand up for what is right and just against any threat.
I ask that this Parliament show Mr Trepashskin the moral support he deserves and offers him, and the people of Russia, the encouragement they need to pursue the values the Sahkarov Prize represents.
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
Subject: SAKHAROV PRIZE FOR FREEDOM OF THOUGHT 2008
Members will find attached the list of candidates in alphabetical order, as well as the justifications and biographies received by the secretariat, for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2008, which have been nominated pursuant to the Sakharov Prize statute by at least 40 Members of the European Parliament or by a political group.
FOR EXTERNAL POLICIES
SAKHAROV PRIZE FOR FREEDOM OF THOUGHT 2008
Candidates proposed by political groups and individual members
in alphabetical order
Nominated by Martin Schulz on
behalf of the Socialist Group
Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio (born December 25, 1961) is a Colombian-French politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist. Betancourt was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on February 23, 2002, and rescued from captivity six and a half years later in Operation Jaque, along with 14 other hostages, by Colombian security forces on July 2, 2008.
In all, she was held captive for 2.321 days after being taken while campaigning for the Colombian presidency. She decided to campaign in an area of high guerilla presence in spite of warnings not to do so. Her ordeal as a political prisoner has captured attention and admiration around the world.
During her term in the Colombian Chamber of Representatives, she criticized the administration of President Ernesto Samper, who was accused of corruption in the 8000 process scandal after accepting money from the Cali drug cartel for his electoral campaign.
Ingrid Betancourt launched her presidential campaign on May 20, 2001. On February 23, 2002 she was kidnapped during her campaign tour to the demilitarized zone in the town of San Vicente del Caguán to meet with the FARC.
Betancourt has constantly spoken out and stood up to the forces of terrorism and it's devastating effects against ordinary, innocent people both in Colombia and around the world. The way in which she has continued her fight and shown solidarity with those in captivity since her release makes her a worthy candidate for the 2008 European Parliament Sakharov prize.
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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on July, 6 1935 in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He began his monastic education at the age of six with a curriculum consisting of logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy. At the age of 23 he sat for his final examination in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, during the annual Monlam (prayer) Festival in1959. He passed with honours and was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree, the highest-level degree equivalent to a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy. In 1950 His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power after China's invasion of Tibet in 1949. In 1954, he went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders, including Deng Xiaoping and Chou Enlai. Finally, in 1959, with the brutal suppression of the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa by Chinese troops, he was forced to escape into exile. Since then he has been living in Dharamsala, northern India, where the seat of the Tibetan political administration in exile is located.
In 1963, His Holiness presented a draft democratic constitution for Tibet and the "Charter of Tibetans in Exile" followed soon after. In his address to members of the United States Congress in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 1987, he proposed the five point peace plan concerning Tibet. He envisioned that Tibet would become a sanctuary; a zone of peace at the heart of Asia, where all sentient beings can exist in harmony and the delicate environment can be preserved. His address to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on June 15, 1988, encompassed another detailed proposal elaborating on the last point of the Five Point Peace Plan. He proposed talks between the Chinese and Tibetans leading to a self-governing democratic political entity for all three provinces of Tibet. In 1992, he issued guidelines for the constitution of a future, free Tibet and announced that when Tibet becomes free the immediate task would be to set up an interim government whose first responsibility will be to elect a constitutional assembly to frame and adopt Tibet's democratic constitution.
Although he describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk, his achievements are extraordinary. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. In his life, His Holiness has travelled to more than 62 countries spanning 6 continents. He has authored more than 72 books and since 1959 he has received over 84 awards, honorary doctorates, prizes, etc., in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion.
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What is the European Roma Rights Centre?
The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public interest law organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma. The approach of the ERRC involves, in particular, strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and policy development, and human rights training of Romani activists. Since its establishment in 1996, the ERRC has endeavoured to give Roma the tools necessary to combat discrimination and win equal access to government, education, employment, health care, housing and public services. The ERRC works to combat prejudice and discrimination against Roma, and to promote genuine equality of treatment and equality of respect. Since 1996, among other achievements, the ERRC:
has increased public attention to the human rights situation of Roma in Europe as an issue of primary public concern and a highest priority on the European human rights agenda;
has exposed and condemned the systemic abuse of Roma rights in a number of countries, including both countries of the former Communist block and EU member states;
has furthered the effective access to justice for Roma and the redress of human rights violations;
as contributed to the development of public interest law in the region, through litigation and legal training in the field of Roma rights;
has written the most significant European Union (EU) policy document on Roma, “Roma in an Enlarged European Union”, a report published in October 2004 by the Directorate General of Employment and Social Affairs of the European Commission;
has influenced the human rights aspects of EU enlargement, through regular monitoring of compliance with the so-called “Copenhagen criteria” by the EU candidate countries and ensuring that the situation of Roma is addressed as a priority issue by both EU Member States and candidate countries;
has become one of the leading advocates in implementing anti-discrimination law in Europe, through participation in efforts related to the promotion of recent landmark instruments, including the EU Race Equality Directive and Protocol No. 12 to the ECHR;
has secured that racial discrimination against Roma is acknowledged and addressed as a top priority issue for the European region, in the framework of the process leading up to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, September 2001; has contributed significantly to the first ever thematic session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, held in Geneva in August 2000 and devoted entirely to the issue of discrimination against Roma.
The ERRC has consultative status with the Council of Europe as well as with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
In 2007 ERRC was the winner of the Max van der Stoel award given by the High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Dutch Foreign Ministry. In 2001, the ERRC was awarded the Geuzenpenning award (the Geuzen medal of honour) by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of Netherlands in recognition of ERRC contribution to “the preservation and promotion of democracy and the enhancement of the vigilance against all forms of dictatorship, discrimination and racism.”
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Sakharov Prize 2008
Year for China
On behalf of the silenced voices of China and Tibet
Hu Jia and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, were nominated for last year's Sakharov Prize and were among the final three short-listed candidates. Hu Jia was consequently imprisoned and remains in prison to this day.
Hu Jia is a prominent human rights activist who works on various issues including civil rights, environmental protection and AIDS advocacy.
He was arrested shortly after his testimony on 26 November 2007 via conference call before the European Parliament's sub-committee on Human Rights. In his statement, he expressed his desire that 2008 be the “year of human rights in China”. He also pointed out that the Chinese national security department was creating a human rights disaster with one million people persecuted for fighting for human rights and many of them detained in prison, in camps or mental hospitals. He also said: "The irony is that one of the people in charge of organising the Olympics is the head of the Public Security Bureau in Beijing who is responsible for so many human rights violations. The promises of China are not being kept before the games."
As a direct result of his address to members of the European Parliament, Hu Jia was arrested, charged with "inciting subversion of state power", and sentenced on 3 April 2008 to three-and-a-half years' in jail with one year denial of political rights. He was found guilty of writing articles about the human rights situation in the run-up to the Olympic Games.
He has been repeatedly calling for an official enquiry into the 1989 Tiananmen massacre as well as compensation for the victims and their families. He is also one of the coordinators of the "barefoot lawyers", an informal group of legal advisers who defend, among others, human rights activists in China.
On 8 August 2008, Hu Jia and 42 Chinese intellectuals signed an open letter entitled "One World, One Dream: Universal Human Rights", calling for more attention to human rights in China. On 6 September 2007, he and his lawyer, Teng Biao, published another open letter, "The Real China and the Olympics", detailing the situation of human rights in the run-up to the Olympics.
Fifty-seven Chinese activists and writers signed an open letter on 6 January 2007 calling for Hu Jia's immediate release and urging the police to ensure that his health does not deteriorate while in detention. He suffers from a liver ailment.
On 7 August 2008, his wife Zeng Jinyan, was taken to Tianjin to see Hu Jia in prison and only brought home to Beijing on 23 August. A few days later, she reported that Hu Jia had said that the prison's methods infringe upon convicts dignity and human rights. He didn't just make his disagreement known to the prison, he also began spreading his views among other convicts, which created difficulties for the prison staff.
Hu Jia became a leading symbol of China's human rights problems as well as a symbol of resistance to Beijing's authority. He represents all the other Chinese and Tibetan citizens who are repressed: lawyers, journalists, petitioners, human rights activists, writers and cyber-dissidents.
On behalf of:
Bu Dongwei; Chen Guangcheng; Dolma Kyab; Du Daobin; Gao Zhisheng; Gong Shenliang; Hada; Harry Wu and all the other Laogai prisoners; He Depu; Hu Shigen; Huang Jinqiu; Huang Qi; Jia Zhiguo; Jigme Gyatso; Jigme Tenzin Nyima; Kong Youping; Korash Huseyin; Kunkhyen; Li Chang; Li Ying; Liu Jie; Liu Zhihua; Lu Wenbin; Lu Gengsong; Lupoe Adak; Mao Hengfeng; Nurhahmat Yusup; Nurmuhemmet Yasin; Phurbu Rinpoche; Qi Zhiyong; Qin Yongmin; Runggye Adak; Shi Enxiang; Shi Tao; Shuang Shuying; Su Zhimin; Sun Xiaodi; Tao Haidong; Tashi Gyatso; Tenzin Delek; Tohti Tunyaz; Wang Ling; Wang Sen; Wu Lihong; Xu Zerong; Yang Chunlin; Yang Maodong; Yang Tongyan; Yang Zili; Yao Fuxin; Ye Guozhu; Zeng Jinyan; Zhang Lin; Zhang Rongliang; Zhang Shanguang; Chen Guangcheng; Guo Feixiong; Lu Gengsong;
As well as all other Chinese and Tibetans who have fought against repression from the authorities.
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Prisoner of Conscience
In a country such as Belarus where fundamental rights are oppressed by the authoritarian regime under the current Belarusian President Lukashenka, Aleksandr Kozulin has shown great courage to withstand the regime actions and to fight for the freedom of thought and expression and basic civil rights. In 2006 during the presidential campaign, he was beaten several times, detained and finally sentenced to five and a half years of imprisonment.
Kozulin has shown in prison high moral and ethic standards by:
He has been officially recognized by Amnesty International (AI) as a prisoner of conscience. As the only such prisoner in Europe he is undoubtedly the right candidate for the Sakharov's prize.
Before standing as a rival of Belarusian dictator in Presidential elections Kozulin had been involved in improving the quality of public life in his country. He has contributed significantly to the standard of the higher education in Belarus:
Worked in the educational sphere in the Belarusian Ministry of Education since 1998
Served as a Minister of Education and as the Head of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Appointed a rector of the Belarusian State University and managing the development of the multi-level university system of a European standard.
He has also been a talented political leader and a coordinator of civil initiatives. In April 2005 Kozulin was elected the leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Hromada". He later created and became the coordinator of the civic initiative on the creation of a pan-national movement "The Will of People".
Kozulin's deeds, his losses and his sacrifices have demonstrated his unwavering commitment in fight for freedom, no matter how difficult it may be. His tremendous personal sacrifice for bringing democracy and freedom back to the most oppressed nation in Europe should be applauded and duly recognized. The European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought would therefore constitute an important recognition that Mr. Kozulin and all of the Belarusian people striving for freedom and democracy undoubtedly deserve.
Several weeks before the presidential election, on March 2, 2006 Kazulin was beaten and detained by the police after attempting to enter All Belarusian People's Assembly. He was charged, under the provisions of the Belarusian Criminal Code, with "hooliganism and incitement" to mass order, art.339, part 2. On March 25, Kazulin was present in a confrontation between demonstrators and police. He walked to the commanding officer with flowers in his hand, and police knocked him off his feet, beat him up, and then detained him. In a post-election interview, despite Lukashenko's win, Kazulin said, "We're not afraid of tanks and violence; we're afraid of prisons and having no freedom. We're tired of living in a spiritual prison." Kazulin was then sentenced to five and a half years on the 13 July 2006.
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BIOGRAPHY MALU MALU
Born in 1962 in Muhangi (Lubero Territory), Abbot Apollinaire Muholongu MALU MALU gained his Doctorate in Political Sciences at the State University of Grenoble II, France. He later obtained a Masters postgraduate degree in Human Rights, specialising in Philosophy and Theology in Lyon.
In 1986, he was ordained as a Catholic priest and joined the movement for the development of North Kivu, from which he gained his expertise in the field. He founded and led the Centre de formation et d'animation pour un développement solidaire (CEFADES) and the Consortium Agriculture urbaine de Butembo (CAUB).
In 2000, Malu Malu was nominated Rector of Graben Catholic University (U.C.B) in Butembo (Northern Kivu), where he was also president of the Administrative Council of the Centre of Applied Juridical Studies (C.E.J.A.).
Aside from his scientific and academic activities, Malu Malu was designated civil society representative of his province for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the DRC peace talks in South Africa. The role he played in the negotiations led to his promotion to President of the IEC in 2003. He was responsible for the organisation of the different elections in the framework of the DRC's democratic transition. The IEC was charged with overseeing the nation’s first multi-party elections in 45 years and the largest electoral undertaking ever supported by the international community. The organisation of the elections, as well as the conduct and know-how of Malu Malu, was praised by all the election observers.
In January 2008, Abbot Malu Malu Muholongu became the President of the Organising Committee of the nine day conference in Goma on peace, security and development for the provinces of North and South Kivu. This peace conference brought together more than 1,500 men and women of all socio-professional categories around difficult themes, such as the conflicts between their various ethnic groups, the return of refugees, violence against women .It was an historic moment assessing the humanitarian crisis in the Kivu.
On the 23rd January, an agreement was signed between the Congolese government and over 20 different rebel groups, including the renegade general and priest Laurent Nkunda and the Mai-Mai. The Goma Agreement, to which Malu Malu was a principal contributor, marked a new and decisive stage for the re-establishment of lasting peace and stability in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Following the agreement, the Congolese government set up the Amani (‘peace’) programme for Eastern Congo and appointed Abbot Malu Malu to spearhead the efforts towards peace. He was charged with implementing the resolutions of the Goma conference.
For the moment, Malu Malu is also working on the transformation of the IEC into a new permanent body, the Independent National Electoral Commission. This body will be able to organise the DRC local, urban and municipal elections in 2008, the last phase in establishing a democratic structure in the DRC.
Abbot Malu Malu should be rewarded for his efforts in making dialogue prevail over violence during the Goma conference and for dedicating his wisdom and experience to realising these principles throughout his career. He will most definitely be remembered as one of the main protagonists in the transition of the DRC.
On the 20th March 2008, the University of Liège recognised his achievements by awarding him the title of Doctor Honoris Causa for having contributed to the holding of democratic and transparent elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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MIKHAIL IVANOVICH TREPASHKIN,
Nominated by Gerard Batten on behalf of the
Independence & Democracy Group
Mikhail Ivanovich Trepashkin, born 1957, is one of the most prominent dissidents, human rights activists, and until recently, political prisoners in Russia today.
As an FSB (KGB) detective 1979-1997, Trepashkin uncovered a number of cases where his colleagues from the secret services were involved in corruption, organised crime, and terrorism. Notwithstanding the pressure from his superiors, Trepashkin refused to cover-up. That resulted in a campaign of victimisation against Trepashkin within the FSB and eventually his unfair dismissal from it. Having failed to find justice within the FSB, Trepashkin went public. He sued his superiors in court and revealed the facts of FSB corruption and criminal activities to the media.
The FSB responded with attempts to prosecute Trepashkin on falsified charges. These were unsuccessful as at that time the Russian judiciary still enjoyed some independence. There were also a number of attempts on Trepashkin’s life. One of the FSB officers ordered to assassinate Trepashkin was Alexander Litvinenko, who famously refused to obey the order. Instead, Trepashkin, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers staged the famous press-conference in November 1998, where they accused their superiors of murder plots and corruption.
Following his dismissal from the FSB, Trepashkin worked as a lawyer. In particular, he represented the Morozov sisters, two survivors of the 1999 Moscow apartment block explosions in the court case following the terrorist attacks. He also advised the Public Commission chaired by Duma Members Sergei Kovalyov and Sergei Yushenkov which conducted an independent investigation into the explosions. The evidence Trepashkin uncovered strongly suggested FSB involvement in those crimes.
In 2003 three days before the trial where Trepashkin would present his evidence, he was arrested on fabricated charges (a gun was planted into his car, which is a well-known FSB device). However, he had revealed his evidence to the press the day before. He was subsequently acquitted on the charge of illegally bearing weapons, but was sentenced to four years imprisonment on another fabricated charge: disclosure of state secrets. He was subsequently recognised as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.
Trepashkin served his sentence in the most the brutal conditions. In particular, he was denied any medical treatment for his bronchial asthma. He was repeatedly subjected to mistreatment and torture. In prison, Trepashkin continued with his human rights activities, giving legal aid to other prisoners and protesting against illegally harsh prison conditions (by hunger-strikes, writing complaints, etc.). In 2007 he famously revealed, in a letter from a prison camp, how he had been approached by FSB officers who offered him protection from persecution in exchange for his help in murdering Alexander Litvinenko.
Trepashkin was released from jail in November 2007 following the international public campaign in his defence. Since then, he has continued campaigning for human rights and democracy in Russia.
Mr. Trepashkin has shown great courage and resolution in his efforts to expose the FSB’s crimes. We nominate his for the Sakharov Prize for his active work in defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly the right to free expression, as set out under Article 2 of the Statute.
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NOMINATION FOR THE 2008 SAKHAROV PRIZE
President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe
For many years Morgan Tsvangirai has fought for democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. At enormous personal risk he has led the main opposition party and has courageously endured a succession of assassination attempts and politically motivated arrests. In 2007 he was imprisoned, tortured, and severely beaten in the face of an international outcry, yet he refused to surrender his place in the first line of those standing up against the political oppression and corruption of the Mugabe regime. In the last eight years the European Parliament has committed itself to the cause of democracy in Zimbabwe with no fewer than sixteen resolutions calling for an end to the atrocious situation in that country.
Mr Tsvangirai is the son of a bricklayer and was first employed as a textile factory worker in Mutuare. He has been married to his wife Susan since 1978 and they have six children.
His political background is in the trade union movement and in 1994 he became Secretary General of the Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordinating Council. In 1997 he took office as President of the National Constitutional Assembly, opposing the violence of the Mugabe regime and becoming a strong advocate of democratic norms and human rights. He founded the broad-based Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999, was elected its President in February 2002 and has stood firm in the cause of freedom of speech and of human rights. He was the MDC candidate in the 2002 and the 2008 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe. On both occasions Mugabe was fraudulently re-elected.
Morgan Tsvangirai stands for equality of opportunity and treatment for all Zimbabweans. He wants to build a true participatory democracy with accountable and transparent government. He aims to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. He believes that there needs to be a programme of land reform but that it should be carried out in an orderly and humane fashion and in a way that will not lead to economic destabilisation. He has called for continued international pressure against the Mugabe regime, as Zimbabwe descends further into political, economic, and humanitarian catastrophe.
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