The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded every year by the European Parliament.
The Sakharov prize was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. Each nominee must have the support of at least 40 MEPs, and each individual Member may support only one nominee. Signed nominations accompanied by supporting evidence are then assessed in a joint meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Committee on Development (DEVE).
A shortlist of three candidates is drawn up through a vote by AFET and DEVE committees, and then submitted to the Conference of Presidents for a final vote. The winner is always announced in October, and the award ceremony takes place in December during plenary in Strasbourg. In 2021, the prize went to the Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.