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Cuban dissident wins European Parliament freedom prize

By the CNN Wire Staff
Cuban political dissident Guillermo Farinas, right, with Ladies in White leader Laura Pollan at his Santa Clara home on Thursday.
Cuban political dissident Guillermo Farinas, right, with Ladies in White leader Laura Pollan at his Santa Clara home on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: He is the third Cuban awarded the prize since 2002
  • Guillermo Farinas has conducted 23 hunger strikes to protest lack of freedoms
  • Farinas says he shares the prize with the Cuban people
  • Cuba has been ruled under a dictatorship since 1959
RELATED TOPICS
  • Cuba
  • Cuban Politics

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was awarded the European Parliament's 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on Thursday.

"Nominated in the name of all those who fight in Cuba for freedom and human rights, the 48-year-old doctor of psychology, independent journalist and political dissident has conducted 23 hunger strikes over the years to protest against the Cuban regime," the European Parliament said in making the announcement.

Farinas said Thursday he shares the prize with others who have struggled for freedom in Cuba. The island nation has been ruled under a dictatorship since 1959.

"When you congratulate me, you congratulate the Cuban people," he said in an interview with CNN en Espanol.

Read about five more prisoners to be freed by Cuba

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek made the announcement in Strasbourg, France.

Farinas will be invited to the prize ceremony in Strasbourg on December 15, though it is unclear whether Cuban authorities will allow him to leave the island.

Farinas is the third Cuban to receive the prize. Prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya received the award in 2002 and the "Ladies in White," an organization of women whose husbands are jailed, garnered the prize in 2005.

The 22nd Sakharov Prize, named after late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, comes with an award of 50,000 euros ($70,000).

 
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