Venezuela's opposition awarded Sakharov Prize for championing human rights

European Parliament rewards courage of student activists and protesters in face of repression by Nicolas Maduro's government 

Thursday 26 October 2017 11:28 BST
A woman argues with riot police in Caracas, Venezuela, on 4 August 2017
A woman argues with riot police in Caracas, Venezuela, on 4 August 2017 (Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)

The democratic opposition and political prisoners in Venezuela have won the European Union's Sakharov Prize for human rights.

The European Parliament said it wanted to reward the courage of students and politicians fighting for freedom in the face of a repressive government.

Guy Verhofstadt of the ALDE liberal group said: “This award supports the fight of democratic forces for a democratic Venezuela.”

He urged “the international community to join us in this fight for the freedom of the people of Venezuela”.

The Venezuelan laureates follow the footsteps of last year's winners, two Yazidi women who escaped sexual enslavement by Isis group.

The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honour individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Other finalists this year included a Pakistani Christian woman who has been on death row for six years, a human rights defender in Guatemala, two pro-Kurdish prisoners in Turkey, a Swedish-Eritrean playwright long held in Eritrea and a Burundian human rights activist.


Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in