Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Awarding of Sakharov prize

The Sakharov prize for freedom of thought was awarded to five Arab Spring activists during the European Parliament's voting session on 14 December 2011.

Parliament President Jerzy Buzek presented the award to the two of the five winners who are able to attend the ceremony: Asmaa Mahfouz from Egypt and Ahmed El Senussi from Libya.

Ali Ferzat from Syria was unable to collect his award in person, but he delivered an acceptance speech to the Parliament by video.

Mohamed Bouazizi from Tunisia was awarded the prize posthumously. Another winner, Razan Zaitouneh, is in hiding in Syria, where she is accused of being a foreign agent.

The prize, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded by the European Parliament every year to individuals or organisations who have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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