The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, which champions human rights, will be awarding its Sakharov Freedom Award for 2017 to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and to the organization Committee against Torture. Novaya Gazeta has also been a frequent candidate to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Helsinki Committee lauded both the newspaper and the anti-torture group for their “outstanding efforts to bring torture out of the shadows and into the open in Russia, where it has received public condemnation,” according to the secretary general of the committee, Bjørn Engesland.
The Helsinki Committee noted that the lawyers in the Committee against torture have won and continue to win an increasing numer of cases in the Russian court system. The victories have helped strengthen the belief that justice can prevail in Russia, and highlighted the effectiveness of some of the independent institutions in the country.
The journalists at Novaya Gazeta, meanwhile, bring abuse to light and publish independent news in a country, according to the Helsinki Committee, where state propaganda and attacks on critical, investigative journalism are widespread.
Investigative journalist Elena Milashina at Novaya Gazeta and Olga Sadovskaya of the committee against Torture will be in Oslo to receive the Sakharov Freedom Award on November 23, when the Helsinki Committee will also be celebrating its own 40th anniversary.