The members of the Sakharov Network protest against the imprisonment of fellow Sakharov Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s pro-democracy opposition, who has been under house arrest since May 2003 and who was jailed today. She and the two women who live with her were taken to Insein prison in a north Rangoon suburb today because, according to military officials, they violated the terms of her house arrest by allowing an American citizen to gain access to her home. Her trial is to begin on Monday.
“Our thoughts go out to our Burmese colleague and those close to her,” the Sakharov Network members said. “Being kept under house arrest for more than 13 years was tantamount to real imprisonment and could no longer be tolerated. We had hoped this outrageous situation would be over on 27 May, when her house arrest sentence was due to end, but it is now clear that the current manoeuvres are designed to prolong her illegal and unjust imprisonment.
“We urge European officials, especially the Czech government, current holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, to take all necessary measures to obtain our fellow Sakharov laureate’s release and the release of all of Burma’s political prisoners. The Sakharov laureates will remain on alert and are ready to support all mediation efforts that could result in her being freed. Aung San Suu Kyi must know that she is not alone and that it is high time that we were reunited with her.”
Aged 63, Aung San Suu Kyi was treated for hypotension and dehydration last week. She has spent more than 13 of the last 19 years in prison or under house arrest, held incommunicado and unable to make phone calls. Her mail is opened and her visits are restricted.
Her party, the National League for Democracy, recently conditioned its participation in the 2010 elections on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the thousands of political prisoners.
Adem Demaçi (1991 Sakharov Prize winner)
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1992 Sakharov Prize winner)
Oslobodjenje (1993 Sakharov Prize winner)
Taslima Nasreen (1994 Sakharov Prize winner)
Leyla Zana (1995 Sakharov Prize winner)
Wei Jingsheng (1996 Sakharov Prize winner)
Salima Ghezali (1997 Sakharov Prize winner)
Dom Zacarias Kamwenho (2001 Sakharov Prize winner)
Nurit Peled-Elhanan (2001 Sakharov Prize winner)
Oswaldo José Payá Sardinas (2002 Sakharov Prize winner)
Belarus Association of Journalists - BAJ (2004 Sakharov Prize winner)
Women in White (2005 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)
Of former winners of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize
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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.