The European Parliament has decided to award this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi.
Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement on the subject today (26 October):
“The European Parliament has made the right choice.
Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi are exceptional individuals. They are paying a high personal price for their work defending human rights and civil liberties in Iran. For this, they deserve our utmost respect and recognition.
The persecution of human rights activists in Iran absolutely must end. I am also deeply concerned at reports that Ms Sotoudeh’s hunger strike has left her in poor physical condition.
I call on the Iranian judiciary to release Ms Sotoudeh and all other political prisoners immediately. I appeal for an end to politically motivated trials and intimidation targeting activists and their families, and I call for the ruling against Mr Panahi to be overturned.
I hope that the Iranian Government will permit the two prizewinners to travel to Strasbourg for the award ceremony on 12 December, so that they can receive their prize in person.”