Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov addresses the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, Nov. 26, 2019.
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov addresses the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, Nov. 26, 2019.

BRUSSELS - A year after he won Europe's top human rights award, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has finally picked up the prize, following his release from a prison in Russia's far-north where he was held on terror charges.

Sentsov was freed in a prisoner swap in September after spending five years in a Russian prison colony above the Arctic circle.

He has been one of the most vocal opponents of Russia's 2014 annexation from Ukraine of his native Crimea region, and staged a 144-day hunger strike to protest the jailing of dozens of Ukrainians in Russia. He ended it faced with the prospect of being force-fed.

The EU award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. Sentsov accepted it in Strasbourg on Tuesday.