Oswaldo Jose Payc Sardias from Cuba was presented with this year's Sakharov Prize ("Fighting for Freedom of Thought") on December 17 by Pat Cox, the President of the European Parliament. The prize is awarded to individuals or institutions that have made significant contributions to the cause of human rights. Mr Paya Sardias has contributed greatly to this cause with his work for democracy and peace through the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba, despite constant harassment and persecution from the authorities. The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, did however allow Mr Payc Sardias to leave the country for the first time in his life in order to receive his prize in Strasbourg. He was chosen for this year's award for defending the Varela Project, initially promoted by the Movimiento Cristiano de Liberaciun and which has been adopted by the majority of Cuban dissidents as a way of demanding greater freedom. Mr Payc Sardias is fighting (non-violently) for a referendum on free elections in Cuba (and has 10,000 signatures on a petition demanding them although still no response from the Cuban Government), freedom of speech, freedom for political prisoners, and free enterprise. The...

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