Can Dündar nominated for Sakharov Prize
ISTANBULFormer daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar has been named among the nominees of the European Parliament’s (EP) prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2016.
“The Parliament awards the Sakharov Prize every year to honor exceptional individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms,” a statement in the EP’s website read, adding that Dündar had survived an assassination attempt and now lived in exile.
Dündar and Cumhuriyet Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül faced trial for “leaking state secrets” due to stories they published about Turkish intelligence trucks allegedly bound for Syria with hidden weapons in early 2014. They were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015, and released on Feb. 26 following a Constitutional Court decision.
An Istanbul court later sentenced Dündar and Gül to five years in prison for “leaking state secrets” on May 6.
Earlier on the same day, Dündar escaped unharmed from an armed attack directed at him in front of the Istanbul Çağlayan Courthouse, however NTV journalist Yağız Şenkal was struck in the leg by a bullet during the incident.
Dündar was recently honored with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) 2016 International Press Freedom Award.
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzemilev, Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar and Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti were also among this year’s nominees for the Sakharov Prize.
Nominations for the Sakharov Prize can be made by political groups or by at least 40 members of the EP. Based on the nominations, the foreign affairs and development committees vote on a shortlist of three finalists. After that the Conference of Presidents, made up of the EP president and the leaders of the political groups, select the winner and announce it on Oct. 27.
A deputy from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Leyla Zana, was among those who received the prize in the past.