DAMASCUS: Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat, who received the Sakharov prize from the European parliament on Thursday, dedicated his award to "martyrs of freedom."
"I share this award with all who are deprived of freedom and democracy," said Farzat, who spoke with AFP by telephone from Kuwait, adding that the prize "spreads hope for the future."
"Freedom is a message that crosses generations. I dedicate this award to all the martyrs who gave their life for freedom and who have learned the culture of liberty," he added.
"I salute them, as well as those who take to the streets, everywhere in the world, searching for freedom, democracy and dignity," the cartoonist continued.
Since mid-March, President Bashar al-Assad's regime has been rocked by unprecedented protests calling for greater freedoms.
The UN estimates more than 3,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, in the regime's crackdown on dissent.
Last August, Farzat was attacked by a group of men who broke two fingers of his left hand, damaged his right arm and one of his eyes.
He said at the time that four men were involved, springing on him as he returned home before dawn.
According to opposition activists, security forces and masked pro-regime militias were behind the attack.
Farzat was among five Arab Spring activists who have won the European parliament's Sakharov prize, which is awarded to campaigners for freedom.
Syrian lawyer Razan Zeitouneh, 34, who has championed the cause of political prisoners and played a leadership role in the pro-democracy movement also received the prize.
The other laureates are Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia, awarded posthumously, Egyptian militant Asmaa Mahfouz, and Libyan dissident Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi.