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France - Dec 14, 2011 - 19:38

Last modified: 14 Dec 2011 16:38

The European Parliament has awarded five "Arab Spring" activists the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Among the winners, which include both men and women, is Mohamed Bouazizi - a Tunisian fruit seller who set himself on fire in a sign of protest that set the region ablaze with historic revolutionary movements.

Other winners included Egypt's Asmaa Mahfouz and Libyan dissident Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi. Syrian winners, lawyer Razan Zeitouneh and cartoonist Ali Farzat, were unable to attend the award ceremony due to ongoing strife in their homeland.

In addition to the honour of being named, the winners will share a prize of $65,000.

Past winners of the Sakharov Prize include anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and former UN chief Kofi Annan.

Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports.