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Václav Havel Human Rights Prize for 2014 awarded to Anar Mammadli

The second Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, honouring an outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights, has been awarded to Azerbaijani human rights defender during the ceremony in Strasbourg.

After Ales Bialiatski,  winner of the very first Václav Havel Human Rights Prize in 2013,  a prize for 2014 was awarded during a special ceremony today at the Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg, on the opening day of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). As Anar Mammadli, founder and chairperson of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS), is currently in prison in Azerbaijan, the €60 000 prize was presented to his father, Asaf Mammadov.

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded every year to individuals and non-governmental organisations that actively fight for human rights. This award, which is named after a former Czechoslovak and Czech president, is awarded by PACE together with Charta 77 Foundation and Václav Havel Library in Prague. The winner is appointed by a seven-member board, with Ms. Anne Brasseur, the President of PACE, in the chair; other members are for example Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, former Commissioner for Human Rights; Mr. Marek A. Nowitzki, Polish dissident; professor František Janouch, chairman of the board of the Charta 77 Foundation; and Mr. Martin Palouš, member of the board of the Václav Havel Library. Out of all 56 of this year‘s nominations the bord shortlisted three candidates: the B'Tselem Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Malta's Jesuit Refugee Service and Anar Mammadli.   

Anar Mammadli (photo courtesy of the Council of Europe)

Anar Mammadli (photo courtesy of the Council of Europe)

Awarding ceremony (photo courtesy of the Council of Europe)

Awarding ceremony (photo courtesy of the Council of Europe)