Crimean Tatar leader gets Polish democracy award at ceremony attended by Kerry, Poroshenko

Poland has honored a Crimean Tatar community leader with a new prize aimed at promoting democracy.

Mustafa Dzhemilev on Tuesday received the Lech Walesa Solidarity Award at a ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko.

Dzhemilev was a dissident during the Soviet era, when his people — an ethnic Turkic group — were persecuted. More recently he has protested Russia's annexation of Crimea.

He received the prize as Poles celebrated the 25th anniversary of the elections that heralded the collapse of communism.

Kerry has criticized what he says is a new rash of human rights abuse against Tatars in Crimea since the annexation.

Poroshenko, who was in Warsaw on his first trip abroad in his new role, called Dzemilev "a great Ukrainian hero."