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Venezuela opposition, political prisoners win human rights award from EU

"The most important thing is that we feel there is a real understanding of what happens in Venezuela," said opposition leader Julio Borges.

by The Associated Press /
The head of the Venezuelan Parliament Julio Borges (R) shakes hands with European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, after receiving the Sakharov Prize in the name of the democratic Venezuelan opposition, during a ceremony in the European parliament in Strasbourg, France, 13 December 2017.IAN LANGSDON / EPA

BRUSSELS — Venezuela’s democratic opposition and its political prisoners have received the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for human rights.

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

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Julio Borges, one of the Sakharov Prize laureates, said “the recognition of Sakharov prize has a lot of meaning for us, not only because we’ve gone through years of struggle. The most important thing is that we feel there is a real understanding of what happens in Venezuela.”

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

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