January 30, 2021
FILE – Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya poses with the Sakharov Prize, the European Union’s annual human rights award, during a ceremony at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Dec. 16, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has nominated Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya for the Nobel Peace Prize, two sources with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
Nauseda nominated the activist, who has been living in Lithuania since fleeing her homeland in the wake of a disputed August 9 presidential election, to show his support for the Belarusian democratic movement and its demand for free elections, one of the sources said.
Months of mass protests erupted in Belarus after President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory over Tsikhanouskaya in the poll. Thousands of protesters were rounded up and nearly all opposition political figures were driven into exile or jailed.
A former teacher, Tsikhanouskaya ran for president after her husband, an opposition blogger with political ambitions, was detained ahead of the election. From her Vilnius office she has demanded that Lukashenko stand down, free jailed protesters and hold free elections.
Last week she urged the European Union and the United States to be “braver and stronger” in their actions to help end Lukashenko’s rule.
Nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize are to close January 31 and the winner is scheduled to be announced in November. Thousands of people can make nominations for the award, including members of national parliaments, former laureates and leading academics.
Last year’s winner was the U.N. World Food Program.