Cuban dissidents pick up EU prize, 8 years later

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BRUSSELS (AP) — Eight years after winning Europe's top human rights prize, members of a Cuban opposition group are finally picking it up after securing permission to travel abroad.

Cuba's Ladies in White won the European Union's Sakharov Prize in 2005, but weren't granted permission to leave the country at that time.

European Parliament lawmaker Elmar Brok said they are receiving the award Tuesday as a recognition of their "courage in the face of dictatorship in their country."

The Ladies in White formed in 2003 to demand freedom for their loved ones, 75 government opponents who had been jailed that spring in a crackdown on dissidents.

They became known for their marches, dressed all in white. All 75 prisoners have since been released.

Cuba's government this year eased travel restrictions, which has allowed dissidents to travel abroad.

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