The Lithuanian parliament decided on Thursday to award the Freedom Prize to Nijolė Sadūnaitė, a Roman Catholic nun and former Soviet-time dissident.
Nijolė Sadūnaitė
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

Update from paragraph 2.

The motion was unanimously passed with 113 votes in favour.

Sadūnaitė, 79, was convicted by the Soviet regime in 1975 for making copies of and spreading the underground Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. The woman, who chose to become a nun after school, was sentenced to three years of imprisonment in a maximum security labour camp and then to another three years of exile.

Upon her return to Lithuania, Sadūnaitė reinvolved herself in the publishing of the Chronicle and faced further persecution by Soviet security officials.

The Freedom Prize was established by the Seimas in 2011 to honour individuals and organizations for their role in defending freedom, democracy and human rights and promoting international cooperation for the cause of self-determination and sovereignty of Eastern and Central European nations

Candidates for the prize are nominated by a special commission and the final decision is made by the parliament.

The first Freedom Prize was awarded to Sergei Kovalev, a Russian fighter for freedom and democracy and defender of human rights. Other winners of the prize include Antanas Terleckas, a political prisoner, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevičius, the founder and editor of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, Adam Michnik, a Polish dissident and editor-in-chief of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza, former President Valdas Adamkus, and Lithuania's first post-independence leader Vytautas Landsbergis.

The Freedom Prize, which amounts to 5,000 euros, is awarded every year on Jan. 13, the Day of the Defenders of Freedom.

BNS
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