Guillermo Farinas said he would not be able attend tn awards ceremony in France to accept the Sakharov Prize because Cuban authorities did not give him permission to leave Cuba.
Mr. Farinas was on a hunger strike for 135 days and his efforts helped to pressure the Cuban government to release political prisoners in Cuba this year.
He said “I believe that the Cuban government has shown over the years that it is behaving in an arrogant manner,” and that Cuban citizens are treated like slaves in Cuba.
The European Parliament said it would transmit a message from Farinas and have an empty chair to represent him at the ceremony in Strasbourg.
The Prize is the top European Union honor for human rights and honorees are awarded a cash prize of $67,000.
Jerzy Buzek, the European Parliament president, made a last-minute plea on Monday for Cuban authorities to let Farinas leave Cuba to pick up the Sakharov prize. The Cuban government has not made any public comments about the situation.
The Sakharov Prize was awarded in 2002 to dissident Oswaldo Paya and in 2005 to the opposition group Ladies in White.
Paya was permitted by the Cuban government to go accept the prize, but the Ladies in White were not.