Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian human rights lawyer serving an 11-year prison sentence for “conspiring against state security” could not be present in Strasbourg on Wednesday, when the European Parliament awarded her the prestigious Sakharov prize.

Yet Sotoudeh – a 47-year-old mother of two known for representing opposition activists and minors sentenced to the death penalty – nevertheless gave a moving speech from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

“I have only one dream; the dream of the realization of justice,” Sotoudeh said through her representative, Dr. Shirin Abadi.

“Democracy has a long and difficult road ahead, but we have never lost our hope in the future,” she added.

Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, under house arrest in Iran, was awarded the Sakharov prize alongside Sotoudeh.

“The question is: why do the governments, the almighty and powerful, become more intolerant every day?” Panahi said via his representative filmmaker Costa Gavras.

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