Human rights group awards its Sakharov prize

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The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has awarded its annual Andrei Sakaharov Freedom Award to Association GOLOS of Russia, for what the Oslo-based human rights group calls GOLOS’ “outstanding efforts to promote democratic values through free and fair elections in Russia.”

The award, established in 1980 with the consent and support of the late Soviet dissident and human rights advocate Andrei Sakharov, honours GOLOS’ “pioneering efforts” to document fraud and other violations of election legislation during the election process in Russia.

GOLOS, which means “voice” in Russian, is the only independent organization conducting nationwide election observation in Russia. It was founded 12 years ago and is active in 48 regions of the country, according to the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

The committee noted that while GOLOS has won many admirers for exposing election violations, it also has been fined and its members detained and harassed after being accused of sabotaging Russian elections. The group currently faces forced dissolution.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee awarded its first Sakharov prize in 1984. The award to GOLOS will formally be presented in Oslo on October 23.

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