Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by Muslim extremists for defending the universal right to education, was selected Thursday as the 2013 recipient of the European Parliament's 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Expression.

"By awarding the Sakharov Prize to Malala Yousafzai, the European Parliament acknowledges the incredible strength of this young woman. Malala bravely stands for the right of all children to be granted a fair education," parliament speaker Martin Schulz said.

The speaker also expressed his eagerness to "present her with the award in person," referring to the award ceremony that will take place next month in Strasbourg and at which the young woman is expected to be on hand.

Yousafzai is currently living in Britain, where she was relocated and received medical treatment to help her recover from the terrible wounds she suffered at the hands of the Taliban.

In 2009, Malala at age 11 began publishing a blog on the Web page of the BBC's Urdu service, where she denounced the repression of the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat Valley.

At the next plenary session of the European Parliament in late October, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally will be able to collect her own Sakharov prize, which was awarded to her in 1990 and which she could not receive at the time.

Suu Kyi, 69, suffered more than two decades of political persecution, spending most of that time under house arrest. EFE