As far back as the sixties Sergej Kovalev was a staunch supporter of Human Rights in the former Soviet Union. His courageous criticsm of violations of Human Rights led to him being arrested in 1974.
Kovalev had to spend ten years in prison and a punishment camp. After Perestroika he was elected a member of the Russian Parliament in 1990, and there he was appointed as Head of the Human Rights Committee. He gained world-wide respect and adminiration when, together with other Duma members, he travelled to the Chechen capital Grozny in the midst of severe fighting. In spite of considerable personal risk he fearlessly documented violations of Human Rights in order to sensitize, both the Russian government and the world at large to Human Rights issues.