Venezuela's opposition, prisoners win EU human rights award

President of the Venezuelan parliament Venezuela Julio Borges, right, waits as ousted Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Dec.13, 2017. The 2017 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded to the democratic opposition in Venezuela. The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
President of the Venezuelan parliament Venezuela Julio Borges, center, and ousted Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, left, show their award as European Parliament President Antonio Tajani applauds after they received the Sakharov Prize in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Dec.13, 2017. The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
President of the Venezuelan parliament Julio Borges, right, shakes hands with ousted Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Dec.13, 2017. The 2017 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded to the democratic opposition in Venezuela. The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
President of the Venezuelan parliament Venezuela Julio Borges, right, and ousted Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma wave after receiving the Sakharov Prize at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Dec.13, 2017. The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

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, says "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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This corrects the day of the week to Wednesday.

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