The German Green MEP Werner Schulz, together with 40 other MEPs, nominated the imprisoned former Yukos CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for the 2013 Sakharov Prize.
"I am convinced that Mikhail Khodorkovsky would be a worthy recipient of the Sakharov Prize and a worthy successor to Sakharov as the conscience of Russia," Schulz, who is also the group's foreign affairs spokesperson and vice chair of the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee EU-Russia, said in his press release.
He said Khodorkovsky criticized corruption and supported political opposition and civil society.
"Unlike other oligarchs, he was unwilling to accept the alternatives on offer: submission or flight abroad. For this, he ended up in jail thanks to two political show-trials reminiscent of the Stalin era," Schulz said.
"His peaceful resistance and patriotism have inspired many Russians to voice their opposition to the increasingly authoritarian and repressive regime," he noted.
Schulz said "the European Union has to demonstrate solidarity with Khodorkovsky showing that it will not tolerate further selective justice and political prosecution in Russia."
After the candidates are nominated by European Parliament groups a shortlist of candidates will be made and the group leaders will choose the winner. The Sakharov Prize is traditionally awarded at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in December.
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