Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been awarded Europe's prestigious Sakharov prize for his opposition to the country's ruling regime.

Panahi is currently under house arrest after he was sentenced to six years custody and hit with a 20-year moviemaking ban over his support for opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

European Union leaders announced on Friday (26Oct12) that Panahi's activism has earned him this year's (12) Sakharov prize, a $65,000 (£40,600) grant which is awarded for dedication to human rights and freedom of thought. He will share the honour with Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Jailed Russian punk stars Pussy Riot were among the nominees for this year's award.