In October 2010, Cuban opposition activist Guillermo Farinas was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.Farinas is the winner of a European Parliament prize for “freedom of thought”He went on a 135-day hunger strike last year to protest Cuba’s imprisonment of political activistsA blogger says Farinas was also detained by police on Wednesday

Havana, Cuba (CNN) — Cuban authorities have detained dissident Guillermo Farinas, his mother told CNN.

Police apprehended Farinas and another group of activists when they were on their way to a local jail to demand the release of another activist, Alicia Hernandez, his mother said Thursday night.

Farinas, a psychologist and writer, gained international attention last February when he stopped eating for 135 days to protest the Cuban government’s imprisonment of political activists.

The activist, who has gone on more than 20 hunger strikes, was eventually hospitalized and accepted intravenous liquids, but refused to eat.

His hunger strike came to an end in July after Cuba began to release dissidents as part of an agreement with the Roman Catholic Church and Spain.

The European Parliament named Farinas the winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in October. He won the 50,000 euro ($66,975) prize because he was “ready to sacrifice and risk his own health and life as a means of pressure to achieve change in Cuba,” European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said in a statement.

An empty chair represented him at the award ceremony in December after Cuban authorities denied him permission to leave the country.

Farinas was also detained and released Wednesday after he helped organize a protest to help a family authorities were evicting from their home in Cuba’s Santa Clara province, according to blogger Yoani Sanchez.

Police did not file any charges against him, Sanchez. said.

Sanchez said she spoke on the phone with the activist when he was in a police station. Seventeen other activists were also detained, she said.

CNN’s Nelson Quinones in Atlanta contributed to this report.


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