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Burma 16 September 2008

11 Sakharov Prize winners call for the immediate release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

With just weeks to go to the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Sakharov Prize on 10 December 1988, an informal network of 11 of its past winners today calls on the Burmese authorities to immediately release Aung San Su Kyi and all other political prisoners.

The leader of the National League for Democracy, the party that won the 1990 parliamentary elections, Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since May 2003. In all, she has spent more than 12 years in prison or under house arrest since 1988. According to her lawyer, she is now under-nourished, having for a month refused most of the food brought to her.

The appeal is signed by:

-  Adem Demaçi (1991 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Taslima Nasreen (1994 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Wei Jingsheng (1996 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Salima Ghezali (1997 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Dom Zacarias Kamwenho (2001 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Oswaldo José Paya Sardinas (2002 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Belarusian Journalist Association - BAJ (2004 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Hauwa Ibrahim (2005 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Reporters Without Borders (2005 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Alexander Milinkevich (2006 Sakharov Prize winner)
-  Salih Mahmoud Mohamed Osman (2007 Sakharov Prize winner)

The informal Sakharov Prize network urges the European authorities, especially France, the current holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, to redouble their efforts to obtain the release of their fellow Sakharov Prize winner and all of Burma’s political prisoners.

Human rights organisations put the number of political prisoners in Burma at about 2,000. They include Win Tin, a journalist held since July 1989.

The 11 Sakharov Prize winners do not rule out the possibility of taking further initiatives on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi or taking a position on other issues.

The European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought every year since 1988 to individuals or organisations that, like Andrei Sakharov, dedicate their energies to the defence of human rights and freedoms, and to combatting oppression and injustice.

The Sakharov Prize is awarded on 10 December, the anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. The award comes with 50,000 euros in prize money.

For additional information

INFORMAL SAKHAROV PRIZE NETWORK C/o Reporters Without Borders Contact : Olivier Basille (Reporters Without Borders) Tel : 00 32 (0)494 356 165  Fax : 00 32 (0)2 235 22 82 Email : rsf_eu@rsf.org




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