Assange, Motarjemi & Rui Pinto win GUE/NGL whistleblower prize

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Nestlé whistleblower Yasmine Motarjemi and Football Leaks’ Rui Pinto have been jointly awarded for the second annual GUE/NGL prize for ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information’, named in honour of the assassinated Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, on April 26 in Strasbourg.

The three winners have been honoured for their work in exposing the truth, and for their courage in risking their careers and personal freedom.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and currently in police custody in the UK. He is fighting extradition to the United States after being expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy last week.

Yasmine Motarjemi, former Vice President and whistleblower on Nestlé’s food safety lapses.

Rui Pinto, Football Leaks whistleblower who is currently detained in Portugal due to an arrest warrant.

Also nominated:

Katya Mateva, whistleblower on Bulgarian Ministry of Justice’s Golden Visa scam

Luis Gonzalo Segura, author and whistleblower on corruption and wrongdoing in the Spanish army

Howard Wilkinson, Danske Bank whistleblower

Commenting on the award, MEP Stelios Kouloglou (SYRIZA, Greece) said:

“Two of the three whistleblowers who have won this award are currently in jail.”

“This underlines the importance of the fight for the protection of whistleblowers – and also the importance of our award´.”

“No other political group has initiated such an award, and the European Parliament’s promise to set up a similar initiative has never been implemented,” said the Greek MEP.

For Miguel Urbán (Podemos, Spain), the arrest of Assange underlines just how perilous the situation facing whistleblowers is:

“We have a very strong list of nominees but also three very deserving winners in Yasmine Montarjemi, Rui Pinto and Julian Assange.”

“I strongly condemn the expulsion of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and his subsequent detention by the British police.”

“We support the statements made by the United Nations rapporteur related to this case, who had urged against the expulsion of the founder of Wikileaks from the embassy as this would endanger Assange’s life if he is then extradited to the United States. Therefore, our first petition is addressed to the British government so that the extradition will not happen.

You can re-watch the ceremony here.

For full biographies of the nominees and winners, please click here, and for the jury here.