Hours before her anticipated release scores of supporters gathered near the home of Nobel Peace Prize laureate pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, hoping to see her in her first few minutes of freedom after seven years of house detention under Myanmar's ruling generals.
Aung San Suu Kyi swept to victory in the 1990 election by a landslide on top of the National League for Democracy party, but the military refused to hand over power and clamped down on opponents.
Aung San Suu Kyi's light was kept under house arrest or in jail for more than 15 of the last 21 years.
Suu Kyi has also become an icon for the struggle to rid the Southeast Asian country of decades of military rule.
Suu Kyi's freedom has always been a key demand of the Western
nations and immediately upon her release she was welcomed by world leaders and human rights organizations.
Amnesty International had called her a prisoner of conscience. Amnesty also shines the light on poor human rights records of both regimes and states.
Vanunu, July 2009 copyright eileen fleming
Mordechai Vanunu is the icon for a Nuclear Free Middle East and was also named a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty. On 18 June 2010, Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East Programme announced:
"Mordechai Vanunu should not be in prison at all, let alone be held in solitary confinement in a unit intended for violent criminals. He suffered immensely when he was held in solitary confinement for 11 years after his imprisonment in 1986 and to return him to such conditions now is nothing less than cruel, inhuman or degrading. Mordechai Vanunu is a prisoner of conscience. The prison authorities might claim that he has been put in isolation to protect him from the risk of attack by other inmates, but if the Israeli government is really concerned for his safety it should release him without delay. His re-imprisonment is both harsh and unjustified. The restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu arbitrarily limit his rights to freedom of movement, expression and association and are therefore in breach of international law. They should be lifted and he should be allowed to start his life again as a free man."
But instead, Vanunu endured another 78 more days in solitary in 2010, his
punishment for speaking with foreign media in 2004- who have all been MIA ever
On 2 October 2010, the International League for Human Rights announced that Vanunu will be awarded the Carl-von-O ssietzky-M edal in Berlin on 12.12.10. The International League for Human Rights also wanted "to draw international attention to the fact that [Vanunu] is still being held prisoner in Israel, deprived of elementary civil and human rights, although he has already served his prison sentence in full, and regardless of the fact that his information is now a quarter of a century old."
Long time Vanunu supporter, Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire will speak in Berlin on 12.12.10 in the spirit ofCarl-von-O ssietzky and for Vanunu.From Jerusalem in 2008, Mairead said:
"Our security as the human family does not lie in
militarism, nuclear weapons or war. Another courageous voice who
reminded us of this is Mordechai Vanunu. Mordechai told the world Israel had
nuclear weapons. He was concerned that possessing such weapons endangered
Israel, as it too could become another Hiroshima. For his act of truth
telling he was punished by the Israel Government and continues 22 years later
to be held in East Jerusalem unable to leave Israel or speak to foreigners or