2017 finalists announced for $100,000 Allard Prize for International Integrity

The Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada has announced the three finalists for the 2017 Allard Prize for International Integrity. Created and funded by alumnus Mr. Peter A. Allard, Q.C., the C$100,000 biennial prize is one of the largest awards in the world recognizing efforts to combat corruption and promote human rights.

“Each of the 2017 Allard Prize finalists has demonstrated remarkable courage and leadership, taking significant risks not only for themselves but also for their families and friends, and making considerable personal sacrifices, to uphold transparency, accountability and the Rule of Law,” said Peter Allard. “We are honored to recognize their exceptional work in fighting corruption and protecting human rights, in the hope that doing so will inspire others to also fight abuses of power and the subversion of human rights.”

The winner of the Allard Prize will be announced at a special ceremony at the University of British Columbia’s Old Auditorium on September 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm. The 2017 Allard Prize finalists are:

Car Wash Task Force (Força Tarefa da Lava Jato) – This Brazilian anti-corruption prosecution task force has worked to prosecute some of the most powerful Brazilian political leaders, including the popular former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was convicted of corruption and money laundering earlier this month. “Operation Car Wash” began as a local money laundering investigation and grew into the largest probe to date uncovering cases of state capture and grand corruption in Brazil. Its investigations have resulted in over 280 persons charged, 157 convictions, 1,563 years of cumulative jail time and restitution agreements of over US$3 billion. The Task Force’s work has led to the most significant anti-corruption bill in Brazil’s history, supported by over 2 million Brazilian citizens, and underscores the message that everyone is equal under the law and even the most powerful leaders will be held accountable.

Khadija Ismayilova — As an investigative journalist in Azerbaijan, Khadija Ismayilova writes about high-level corruption and misuse of power in Azerbaijan for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Radio Free Europe’s Azerbaijani service. In 2010, Ismayilova revealed the corruption of Azerbaijan's President, Ilham Aliyev, reporting that the President’s wife and children owned real estate in the United Arab Emirates worth USD $44 million. In 2013, Ismayilova received private video footage of herself in her home from an anonymous source, with a note warning her to behave.  She was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on charges that many saw as retaliation for her reports. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan released Ismayilova on probation but forbid her to travel abroad for five years without official permission.

Azza Soliman – A renowned women’s rights lawyer, Azza Soliman is the co-founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA). She has dedicated her life to fighting corruption and injustice faced by Egyptian women in both the private sphere and the judicial system. She started her activism in 1995 when she was arrested after exposing the torture imposed on female members of the Islamic Group. Soliman has worked to support women’s access to justice by using progressive interpretations of religion to influence legislation and combat the monopoly and corruption of religious institutions. In 2015, Soliman was unjustly charged with unauthorized protest and public order violations after testifying against a policeman who she witnessed killing a female human rights defender during a protest. In response, she founded the "Protecting Witnesses and Whistleblowers Coalition" to help enhance the Rule of Law. Currently, the Egyptian government has curtailed Soliman’s freedom by freezing her law firm’s and her own private assets and banning her from traveling outside Egypt. 

The keynote speaker will be American journalist and author Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden to the world and co-founded the award-winning news outlet, The Intercept. The Intercept covers national security, politics, criminal justice and more, and gives its journalists the editorial freedom and legal support they need to pursue investigations that expose corruption and injustice.

“These finalists have been selected from a diverse and fascinating pool of nominations,” said Catherine Dauvergne, Dean of the Allard School of Law. “Peter Allard’s commitment to shedding light on the work of advocates worldwide who are fighting corruption and promoting human rights is a crucial step to helping real change happen in the world.”

The Allard Prize for International Integrity was first awarded in 2013 to Anna Hazare for his work in leading successful movements across India to enhance government transparency and investigate and prosecute official corruption. The 2015 Prize went to John Githongo and Rafael Marques de Morais, two African journalists who exposed corruption in their respective countries of Kenya and Angola.

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