(RFE/RL) -- The European Parliament has awarded its annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Memorial, the prominent and embattled Russian human rights group.
European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek made the announcement at the assembly, based in the French city of Strasbourg.
"Following today's morning session, the prize committee of the European Parliament has chosen Memorial as the laureate of the 2009 Sakharov Prize, represented by Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalyov, and Lyudmila Alekseyeva."
He said the award also went to all other human rights defenders in Russia.
The prestigious prize is named for physicist Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 and headed Memorial in the late 1980s. It is worth 50,000 euros and is considered the European Union's top rights award.
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Russia's Memorial Rights Group Awarded Sakharov Prize (1)