Crimean Tatar leader receives Poland’s ‘Solidarity Prize’
June 4, 2014
Polish President Bronisław Komorowski Tuesday awarded a prize for championing democracy and human rights to Mustafa Dzhemilev, the pro-Kiev leader of Crimea's Tatar community who was barred from the region after Russia annexed the peninsula.
He condemned the March referendum over whether the region should join Russia as a federal subject.
The inaugural "Solidarity Prize" was given to Dzhemilev for fighting "for democracy and the respect of rights and civil liberties in Ukraine, especially with regard to the Tatar community," Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski had earlier said.
The 70-year-old Ukrainian lawmaker and Soviet-era dissident has dedicated his life to defending the rights of his people and commands huge respect among the Tatars.
"He is a defender of Ukraine's integrity," Sikorski, said. "He is someone who, together with his people, has demonstrated that democracy is possible."
Dzhemilev told Polish public television that the Crimean Tatars would continue to fight for their rights with peaceful means.
“We have not shed anyone's blood,” he said. He also said that Crimean Tatars are not going to wage war against Russia.
Poland set up the annual Solidarity Award worth a EUR 1 million to mark the 25th anniversary of its first partly democratic elections after World War II.