22 Oct 2010

Cuban dissident awarded human rights prize

9:47 am on 22 October 2010

The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov human rights prize to Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas.

In July, Mr Farinas ended a hunger strike after Cuba's communist government announced it was freeing 52 political prisoners.

During his campaign for human rights, the 48-year-old has staged more than 20 hunger strikes and spent more than 11 years in prison.

Mr Farinas, a psychologist, journalist and former soldier, had been near death while on hunger strike this year, doctors said.

The MEPs who nominated him for the prestigious award called him "a beacon of hope for dozens of journalists and activists who are currently in prison".

An Israeli human rights watchdog and an Ethiopian opposition activist had also been nominated for the prize.