Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Monday, 10 December 2012

Sakharov prize

Video for this item of business will appear here.

The European Parliament's annual prize for freedom of thought - the Sakharov Prize - was presented during the plenary session on 12 December 2012.

The prize has been awarded to two Iranian human rights activists - lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film director Jafar Panahi.

However, as they are both unable to leave Iran, five representatives including 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Shirin Ebadi received the prize on their behalf.

Ms Sotoudeh is held in Evin Prison in Tehran and is believed to be in a serious health following a seven-week hunger strike.

Mr Panahi is well known for his humanist films on life in Iran, but in 2010 he was put under house arrest and banned from film making for 20 years.

His 2011 documentary This is Not A Film was smuggled out of the country on a USB stick hidden in a cake.

The Sakharov Prize has been awarded by the European Parliament every years since 1988 to individuals or organisations that have made a contribution to tackling human rights abuses.

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.

SEE ALSO

Story Tools

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific