(QHA) -

Doctor Denis Mukwege won the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize on Tuesday for his work in helping thousands of gang rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Parliament president Martin Schulz announced the award for Mukwege, who has previously been tipped several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his work in treating the appalling injuries inflicted on the victims.

Parties in Parliament "decided unanimously to award Dr Denis Mukwege the Sakharov Prize for his fight... for women," Schulz said.

Schulz named the pro-Western Ukraine democracy and rights group EuroMaidan, which led the popular revolt against deposed president Viktor Yanukovych, as runner-up and invited its leading lights to the awards ceremony in November.

The third candidate was prominent Azerbaijani rights activist Leyla Yunus, who is currently being detained on treason charges.

Note: The Sakharov Prize, named after the famous Russian scientist and dissident Andrey Sakharov, recognises significant contributions to the promotion of human rights and democracy around the world.

Andrey Sakharov defended the rights of Crimean Tatar, who were deported from Crimea by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1944. Sakharov has made his debut as a dissident with his stimulating essay “Thoughts on Progress, Peacefull Coexistance and Intellectual Freedom”, where he mentioned the plight of Crimean Tatars. In 1978 Sakharov even wrote an appeal to Brezhnev regarding Crimean Tatars.

QHA