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By The Associated Press

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.

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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