Five Arab Spring activists have won this year’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, awarded by the European Parliament.
“This year’s winners symbolise the struggle for dignity, democracy and human rights and are
co-authors of historical changes in the Arab world,” said European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek.
A posthumous prize goes to street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi who triggered the Arab Spring by burning himself to death in protest at his treatment by authorities in Tunisia.
Also honoured is internet activist Asmaa Mahfouz who helped motivate Egyptians to demand their rights in Tahrir Square.
After 31 years in jail for opposing Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan dissident Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi is recognised.
There is an award for human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, at the forefront of the uprising in Syria, and political satirist Ali Farzat, a well-known regime critic there. Security forces beat him in August, breaking his hands.
The prizes will be presented at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on December 14.