WARSAW, Poland (Associated Press) – Imprisoned Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the winner of this year’s Lech Walesa award, which promotes human rights.
The board of the $100,000 prize said Thursday that Khodorkovsky is being recognized for “courage in promoting civil society values,” building foundations of economic freedom and “unwavering struggle for justice and human dignity.”
Once Russia’s richest man, Khodorkovsky has been convicted in Russia of evading taxes and stealing oil from his own company. He is due for release in 2014. His case is seen as President Vladimir Putin’s punishment for Khodorkovsky’s political ambitions.
Khodorkovsky’s son Pavel is to receive the award on Sunday in Gdansk, where labor leader Walesa founded the Solidarity movement in 1980. It later ousted communism from Poland, and Walesa won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize.