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European Parliament awards human rights prize

December 15, 2010 - STRASBOURG

The winner of the European Parliament's prestigious human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, will receive a certificate and check for €50,000 at an awards ceremony at the parliament. The award often upsets the nominees' home countries, with outright condemnation when the winner is announced. Cuba is fuming. The 2010 award went to Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas.

The winner of the European Parliament's prestigious human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, will receive a certificate and check for &euro50,000 at an awards ceremony at the parliament. The award often upsets the nominees' home countries, with outright condemnation when the winner is announced. Cuba is fuming. The 2010 award went to Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas. Farinas is a 48-year-old psychologist and journalist. He has taken part in 23 hunger strikes against the Cuban government. A former soldier, he withdrew his affiliation to the Communists Youth and became an opponent to the Castro regime in 1989. He has spent more than 11 years of his life behind bars. In 2009 the award went to Moscow-based NGO Memorial, after a bloody year for human rights activists in Russia. In 2008 the award went to Chinese political activist Hu Jia, who pressed for an official enquiry into the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The prize was awarded to Hu Jia despite intense lobbying by China, which gave warning that the honor would damage [its] relations with Europe. Each year the heads of EP political parties choose the winner of the prize, which was named after Soviet rights activist Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989). The other individuals or organizations that have distinguished themselves in the struggle for human rights are: Open Doors, an organization working to protect the rights of Christian minorities around the world; Syrian human rights lawyer Haytham Al-Maleh; Vietnamese priest Nguyen Van Ly; online communications NGO Access; Israeli army transparency NGO Breaking the Silence; Western Sahara human rights worker Aminatou Haidar; jailed Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak; and Ethiopian politician Birtukan Mideksa. ; Previous winners include: Nelson Mandela (1988) Alexander Dubcek (1989) Aung Saan Suu Kyi (1990) Adam Demaci (1991) The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (1992) The Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodenje (1993) Taslima Nasreen (1994) Leyla Zana (1995) Wei Jingsheng (1996) Salima Ghezali (1997) Ibrahim Rugova (1998) Xanana Gusmão (1999) Basta Ya! (2000) Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Izzat Ghazzawi, Don Zacarias Kamuenho (2001) Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas (2002) The United Nations (2003), Belarusian Association of Journalists (2004). (WRITTEN Oct/10)

EPP names 2010 Sakharov Prize candidate (Europolitics 23 Sep 2010)

Nine nominations for Sakharov Prize 2010 (IEWY News)

Sakharov prize nominee strives to 'bring' peace to Middle East (The Parliament 5 Oct 2010)

Father Ly nominated for Europe&rsquos Sakharov Prize (CathNews 4 Oct 2010)

Europe honors dissident Hu Jia, and China's government fumes (SF Gate 24 Oct 2008)

Date written/update: 2010-12-15