Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (23 October) upon hearing that the European Parliament has decided to award the Sakharov Prize to Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia:
"I congratulate Hu Jia on winning the Sakharov Prize today. We continue to hope that this champion of civil rights will soon be released. The Federal Government and the Bundestag have repeatedly called for him to be freed.
We will continue our Human Rights Dialogue with China on 4 November. I ask the Chinese Government to take this opportunity to review the possibility of releasing Hu Jia from prison."
The Sakharov Prize is awarded annually by the European Parliament. It is named after the former Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Laureate Andrei Sakharov, and is endowed with 50,000 euro. It honours people who campaign for human rights and democracy. Previous recipients include former South African President Nelson Mandela and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.