Guillermo Fariñas wins Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought 2010

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas has been declared the winner of the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The announcement was made on 21 October by European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek following a decision by the EP's political group leaders. Mr Fariñas will be invited to attend the award ceremony on 15 December in Strasbourg.

Guillermo Fariñas was one of the nine nominees to the Sakharov Price 2010 in the name of all those who fight in Cuba for freedom and human rights.  He is a doctor of psychology, an independent journalist and a political dissident. He has conducted 23 hunger strikes over the years not in his own favour but in order to defend his compatriots.  Mr Fariñas ended his 135 day hunger strike on 8 July 2010 after the Havana government announced the release of 52 political prisoners following mediation by the Catholic Church.

A supporter of non-violence and someone who dared to denounce the Castro regime, MEPs who nominated him see Guillermo Fariñas as a symbol in the struggle against the imprisonment of political opponents. They considered Mr. Fariñas as the ideal candidate because he is defending dignity and democracy in his country.

President Buzek expressed his hope to hand over the award in person in the ceremony to be held in December. This would be a tremendous moment for the European Parliament and for all Cuban prisoners of conscience, as it would be for Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco), another Cuban Sakharov laureate from 2005, who have not been able to collect their Sakharov Prize in person yet. The president repeatedly calls, on behalf of the European Parliament, for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba.