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Cuba's Fariñas unable to pick up Europe's top human rights prize

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Cuba's Fariñas unable to pick up Europe's top human rights prize

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His voice heard by a packed assembly, Guillermo Fariñas is awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in absentia.

The Cuban dissident was prevented by his country’s government from attending the ceremony in Strasbourg but the 48-year-old psychologist, journalist and former soldier said by telephone he would continue his battle for democracy.

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek wished him success, and expressed a wish that the human rights defender might one day come to claim his prize in person.

Fariñas has repeatedly held hunger strikes. Calling for the release of Cuban political prisoners earlier this year a strike lasted 135 days, and he has spent more than a decade at different times in prison.