Editor-in-chief of Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, dissident Adam Michnik has been awarded the 2014 Freedom Prize, the Lithuanian parliament said on Tuesday.
Adam Michnik
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The decision was supported by all 80 MPs who were present in the voting.

"In 1991, Michnik and other Polish politicians showed unconditional and reckless support for Lithuania's freedom by backing the struggle of Lithuanian citizens against the Soviet Union's aggression. Michnik's activities were always favourable to Lithuania. He called on the Polish government to recognize Lithuania as soon as possible and helped Lithuania to secure diplomatic recognition on the global arena," Seimas Vice-Speaker Irena Degutienė told the parliament, presenting the Freedom Prize Commission' proposal.

In her words, Michnik has openly spoken many times against the incitement of tensions between the Lithuanian and Polish nations.

Established in 2011, the Freedom Prize is intended to celebrate achievements of persons and organizations and their contribution to the protection of human rights, promotion of democracy and international cooperation in their struggle for self-determination and sovereignty of Central and Eastern European nations. The first Freedom Prize of 2011 was awarded to Russian fighter for freedom and democracy Sergey Kovalev. Antanas Terleckas, a former Soviet dissident and leader of the Freedom League, received the prize in 2012 and the 2013 prize went to Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevičius who founded the underground publication, the Chronicles of the Catholic Church of Lithuania.

The prize is presented during a solemn Seimas meeting on 13 January, the Day of Freedom Defenders.

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