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“Empty chair for Fariñas,” headlines Gazeta Wyborcza the day after the award ceremony for the 2010 Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought in the European Parliament. The price was awarded to 48-year-old Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas, who was banned by Cuban authorities from travelling to Strasbourg. Hence, his chair covered with the Cuban flag stood empty during the ceremony. In a message to MEPs, Fariñas stated that Cuba’s rulers treat the island’s citizens as “slaves” and wished he had been able to come in person to Strasbourg as “a representative of the Cuban people in rebellion and those Cuban citizens who have lost their dread of the totalitarian government”. He also vowed to continue his struggle. Last January, Fariñas went on a 135 day hunger strike to obtain the release from jail of 42 Cuban opposition members.