The fight for human rights in the Soviet bloc, recognized with the 2009 Sakharov Prize

At the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and end the division of Europe into two blocs, the Sakharov Prize 2009 has fallen on Memorial, an organization, whose first leader was himself Andrei Sakharov, dedicated to defend human rights in the states that formed part of the Soviet block

The European Parliament's 2009 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded to Russian civil rights defence organization Memorial, and their three representatives Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, as well as all other human rights defenders in Russia. The winner was announced by EP President Jerzy Buzek in Strasbourg.

The organization 'Memorial' was disputing the award with two other finalists, Palestinian gynecologist Abuelaish Izzeldin and writer and political prisoner in Eritrea Dawit Isaak, who were discarded after further nominations submitted by MEPs as the Vicente Ferrer Foundation or the writer Italian Roberto Saviano, author of 'Gomorra'.

On 14 December 2009 the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees and Human Rights Subcomitteee will hold a joint meeting with the winners (or in absentia, with their representatives). This year's prize will be awarded in Strasbourg Wednesday 16 December.

Since 1988, in the spirit of the renowned physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, the European Parliament has awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in order to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms and against oppression and injustice. Sakharov award for human rights 2008 went to jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia.