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Sweden Honors Russian Rights Lawyer

Human rights lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova is known for taking on difficult cases that others have rejected for security reasons.

The Swedish government has awarded a Russian human rights lawyer from Dagestan with the Per Anger Prize for defending victims of human rights violations, a news report said Tuesday.

Sapiyat Magomedova was nominated by Swedish NGO Civil Rights Defenders for possessing "the best qualities that define a true human rights defender," according to a statement posted on the NGO's website.

"She has become a symbol of courage," the statement added.

Memorial, a Moscow-based human rights center, said in comments carried by Interfax that Magomedova had defended victims of torture, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings and sex-based violence in Dagestan.

The 33 year-old lawyer is known for taking on difficult cases that others have rejected for security reasons. Magomedova was herself a victim of violence in 2010, when she was brutally beaten at a local police station in the city of Khasavyurt.

Established in 2004, the Per Anger Prize supports human rights and democracy initiatives and is named after Swedish diplomat Per Anger, who helped rescue Hungarian Jews during World War II.

Other notable prize winners from the former Soviet Union include Belarussian rights defender Ales Bialiatski (2006) and Ingush activist Arsen Sakalov (2005).

The official award ceremony will take place in the Swedish city of Gothenburg on Nov. 12.

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