The European Parliament awarded Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought in 2011 to five representatives of the Arab people, in recognition and support of their drive for freedom and human rights.
The winners of Sakharov Prize are Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi (Libya), Razan Zaitouneh (Syria), Ali Farzat (Syria) and posthumously Mohamed Bouazizi (Tunisia).
European Parliament President will give the award to winners at the official meeting of the Parliament in Strasbourg on 14 December.
Following the decision by the Conference of Presidents (Parliament President and political group leaders) Thursday morning, President Jerzy Buzek underlined "these individuals contributed to historic changes in the Arab world and this award reaffirms Parliament's solidarity and firm support for their struggle for freedom, democracy and the end of authoritarian regimes". He added, their award was "a symbol for all those working for dignity, democracy and fundamental rights in the Arab world and beyond."
Among the three finalists for Sakharov Prize was the Belarusian oppositionist, former member of the election headquarters of presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, Dmitry Bandarenka, who is serving a sentence for "mass riots" of 19 December 2010.
We remind, the first winners of Sakharov Prize in 1988 were the fighter against apartheid Nelson Mandela and posthumously Soviet dissident Anatoly Marchenko.