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Sweden Awards Palestinian Lawmaker

November 20, 2002

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi was named the winner of the annual $50,000 Olof Palme Prize on Wednesday for her work for Palestinian independence.

Ashrawi was honored for her ``consistent and fearless fight over the years for her people’s independence and dignity,″ the Olof Palme Memorial Fund for International Understanding and Common Security said.

The award is endowed by the family of the slain Swedish prime minister and the governing Social Democratic Party. The memorial fund board, which chooses recipients, called Ashrawi ``an inspiring symbol of a new, democratic, peaceful Middle East.″

Ashrawi was a spokeswoman for the Palestinians in peace talks in the ’90s and served as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s higher education minister during 1996-98. She has been an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 1996.

A prize ceremony in the Swedish capital Jan. 30 will mark the birthday of Palme, who was shot to death Feb. 28, 1986, on a Stockholm street as he and his wife walked home unguarded from a downtown movie theater.

Previous winners of the Palme prize include Czech President Vaclav Havel and Amnesty International.

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