Two Iranian dissidents awarded Sakharov Prize for human rights
Nasrin Sotoudeh is a lawyer who defended opposition activists. Sentenced to six years in prison, she is prevented from seeing her husband and her children. The other award is Jafar Panahi, director, known for his films about life in Iran. Since 2010 he has been under house arrest and he is forbidden to make films.

Strasbourg (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Two Iranian dissidents - Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi - are the winners of the Sakharov Prize which the European Union since 1988 awards each year to those who spend themselves for the defense of human rights. The two activists share the prize of 50 thousand Euros that accompany the recognition.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a lawyer who defended opposition activists and human rights defenders, including Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate in 2003. Arrested in 2010 on charges of conspiracy and propaganda against the state, is serving a sentence of six years in the notorious Evin prison. Recently she declared a hunger strike to protest against the harassment to which her husband and two children are subjected.

"I know - she wrote in a letter to her children - that you require water, food, housing, a family, parents, love, and visits with your mother." This last sentence refers to the prohibition of receiving visitors including family that was imposed following her refusal to wear the chador.

The other award is Jafar Panahi, a director, known for his films about life in Iran, where they are prohibited. His documentary "This Is Not a Film" was smuggled into his country in a USB stick hidden in a cake.

Since 2010 he has been under house arrest and he is forbidden to make films.

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said :" The award ... is a message of solidarity and recognition to a woman and a man who have not been bowed by fear and intimidation and who have decided to put the fate of their country before their own. "

 

 

Sotoudeh.jpg