The European Parliament has chosen a Turkish journalist opposed to the government in Ankara on its shortlist of candidates for the prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights.
Can Dundar, the former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, Turkey's main opposition daily, who was sentenced by a Turkish court in May to five years and 10 months in prison, had blown the whistle on Ankara’s duplicitous role in delivering arms to militants in Syria.
The investigative video story posted on Cumhuriyet website in late May 2015, purportedly showed trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, also known as the MIT, transporting weapons to Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria.
The video infuriated the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who threatened the whistleblower that he would "pay a heavy price."
Dundar is believed to be in Germany after he was granted bail earlier this year pending an appeal following his trial.
Other candidates shortlisted for this year's Sakharov Prize include a Crimean Tartar activist and two Izadi victims of the atrocities of Daesh terrorists.
Mustafa Dzhemilev is a leader of the long oppressed Tartar community in Crimea who has been in exile for decades. Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation after a referendum to leave Ukraine in March 2014.
Iraqi activist Nadia Murad was taken as a sex slave by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group before becoming the face of a campaign to protect the Izadi people.
The young woman was enslaved by Daesh from her home village of Kocho near Iraq's northern town of Sinjar in August 2014.
Murad was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe on Monday.
The Sakharov nominees also include Izadi advocate, Lamiya Aji Bashar, also from Socho and enslaved by Daesh in northern Iraq.
The winner of the Sakharov Prize, officially known as the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights and Freedom of Thought will be chosen on October 27 during a plenary session of the European Parliament.
The prize is awarded every year to honor individuals dedicated to the defense of human rights who fight against intolerance, fanaticism and oppression, often falling foul of their governments as a result.
Past winners include Raif Badawi, an imprisoned Saudi blogger convicted for criticizing the Wahhabi-Takfiri ideology, Pakistani education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai, and late South African rights icon, Nelson Mandela.
The prize carries an award of 50,000 euros ($56,000).