Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a report from De Telegraaf:
PVV wants freedom award for Geert Wilders- - - - - - - - -
STRASBOURG — MEP Barry Madlener (PVV) has nominated his party leader Geert Wilders for the Sakharov Prize, a prize given by the European Parliament to people who stand for freedom of expression.
“It’s a shame that someone in a European country is being prosecuted because he defends a fundamental right to freedom of expression,” Madlener said, referring to the trial against Wilders for, among other things, his controversial anti-Islam film Fitna.
Madlener is currently busy collecting the required forty signatures for the nomination among the 736 MEPs. Fraction leaders will later make a choice from the nominations.
The Sakharov Prize was previously awarded to Nelson Mandela, the Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Belarus opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich.
The PVV’s action has led to fierce criticism. Dutch D66 [center-left liberals, anti-Wilders party] MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld finds the attempt to nominate Wilders to be insulting for people who live in real dictatorships. “I do not think you can compare people like Mandela and Chinese human rights activists who are languishing in a prison cell with Wilders,” said In ‘t Veld. “I think this action reveals that the Party for Freedom has lost sight of reality.”
Also the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA, Socialists) leader Thijs Berman responded sharply to the action.
The Sakharov Prize also includes an award of €50,000. There are many nominations for the prize every year. The chance that the fraction leaders in the European Parliament will actually choose Wilders is minimal.