Dean Gillian Lester Congratulates Yon Goicoechea LL.M. ’13 on Sakharov Prize

The Venezuelan political prisoner is one of many recognized by the European Parliament for their push for human rights and the rule of law in Venezuela.

Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester offered the following comment: 

I am heartened by the news that the European Parliament has awarded Yon Goicoechea LL.M. ’13 and his fellow Venezuelan political prisoners the 2017 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The prize recognizes the fight for democratic principles in Venezuela, where since the start of the year at least 130 people have been killed in street protests and more than 500 arrested for advocating a return to the rule of law and the restoration of constitutional order.

Yon Goicoechea at his 2013 graduation ceremony.
Yon Goicoechea at his 2013 graduation ceremony.
Columbia Law teaches and defends the principles that Yon and the others with whom he shares the prize stand for, including—as he wrote recently in an op-ed published in The New  York Times—“free elections, good governance, free expression, judicial independence, personal security and a modicum of economic liberty.”

I offer Yon my deepest congratulations, along with the fierce hope that he will be released from detention.


Posted on October 26, 2017