Oct. 26 - The European Union awards the 2012 Sakharov prize to Iranian director and his lawyer compatriot. Jessica Gray reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~** PART MUST CREDIT CELLULOID, NO LIBRARY OR WIRELESS USE **~ Renowned Iranian film maker and activist Jafar Panahi - one of this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought winners. On Friday, the European Union announced that Panahi and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh had won for their tireless efforts to protect basic human rights in Iran. Banned from making films, Panahi is currently serving a six-year sentence in his homeland for works that reveal the dark underbelly of Iran's religious regime and oppressed population. His latest film was snuck out of the country on a USB key hidden in a cake to be show at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. His compatriot, also imprisoned by Iranian authorities, was recognized for representing opposition activists in court. (SOUNDBITE) (German) EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT MARTIN SCHULZ, SAYING: "Both Ms Sotoudeh and Mr Panahi represent everything that the European Union stands for. And we say to them, loud and clear, 'you are not alone'. I hope they will be able to come to Strasbourg in person in December to receive their award. I call on the Iranian authorities to do everything to make this possible." The prize is set to be awarded at a ceremony in December is and is named for Soviet-era physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov.