EU lawmakers on Thursday voted to exclude Elon Musk from a shortlist drawn up for the bloc’s top rights honour, the Sakharov Prize, which they will award next week.
The frontrunner for the prize is Mahsa Amini, the Iranian Kurd who died while in police custody in Iran last year, and the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement that sprang up to protest her death and denounce Iran’s Mullah-led government.
The nomination covering Amini and the movement has the backing of the three biggest political groupings in the European Parliament.
Filling the other two nomination slots on the shortlist are: two Nicaraguan rights defenders, Vilma Nunez de Escorcia and Bishop Rolando Jose Alvarez Lagos; and three women campaigning for abortion rights, Justyna Wydrzynska from Poland, Morena Herrera from Salvador and Colleen McNicholas from the United States.
Musk, the billionaire boss of X, formerly called Twitter, who styles himself as a “free-speech absolutist” had been put forward for the prize by a small far-right bloc in the parliament.
Musk is currently in the crosshairs of the European Commission for disinformation spreading on X following Hamas’s attack inside Israel last weekend.
X insists it has already removed or labelled “tens of thousands” of such posts.
The winner of the Sakharov Prize is to be announced in a week’s time, on October 19, at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg, France.
The honour, which comes with a 50,000-euro ($53,000) endowment, will be handed over in a ceremony on December 13.
Last year the prize went to the Ukrainian people for defending their country from Russia’s invasion.
Previous winners include imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, Venezuela’s opposition, Pakistani female education activist Malala Yousafzai, the United Nations, and South African anti-apartheid activist and former president Nelson Mandela.