European Parliament Office in Malta: This year’s Sakharov prize for freedom of…

European Parliament Office in Malta:

This year's Sakharov prize for freedom of tought goes to two iranian activists who put their country before their fate …


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This year's Sakharov prize for freedom of tought goes to two iranian activists who put their country before their fate.

The first is Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate and mother of two, represented opposition activ
ists imprisoned following Iran's disputed June 2009 presidential elections, juveniles facing the death penalty, women and prisoners of conscience. She was arrested in September 2010 on charges of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security and has been held in solitary confinement.

Sotoudeh recently started a hunger strike in protest against the state's harassment of her family.

The second is Jafar Panahi, an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor. He first achieved international recognition with his film The White Balloon that won the Caméra d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. His films often focus on the hardships faced by children, the impoverished and women in Iran.

Mr Panahi was arrested in March 2010 and later sentenced to six years in jail and a 20-year ban on directing any movies or leaving the country. His latest film "This Is Not a Film" was smuggled from Iran to the 2011 Cannes Film Festival on a USB stick hidden inside a cake.

Sotoudeh and Panahi were nominated by the Socialists and Democrats, Liberals and Democrats and Greens/European Free Alliance groups as well as by José Ignacio Salafranca, Elmar Brok and 11 other MEPs.

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