Aung San Suu Kyi Andrei Sakharov
Any discussion about high profile political prisoners in Asia usually commences with “The Lady”. The Nobel Peace Prize winner spent 15 years under house arrest. The daughter of the former prime minister of British Burma (who was assassinated), she grew up in India, the US, and England. Returning to Burma in 1988 after years abroad, she met political upheaval under the ruthless dictator U Ne Win. After speaking out against his brutality, and actively advocating for democracy and human rights, she was placed under house arrest in 1989 – and was arrested repeatedly over the years. She was finally released from house arrest in November 2010. Five years later, she led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a majority win in Myanmar’s first open election in 25 years. Another political prisoner to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1975), the Soviet nuclear physicist was imprisoned for his dissenting views on the Soviet government. He was involved in developing the hydrogen bomb, and thus became concerned about the nuclear age. He voiced his discontent with the arms race, and wrote Reflectionson Progress,peacefulcoexistence andintellectualfreedom in a bid to end it. Due to his criticism of Soviet political repression – and international aggression – he was exiled to Gorky in 1980, and placed under surveillance (where he was harassed by the KGB), following his criticism of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Mikhail Gorbachev later released Sakharov, who was subsequently appointed to the Soviet Congress.
“Peace as a goal is an ideal which will not be contested by any government or nation, not even the most belligerent" “Both now and for always, I intend to hold fast to my belief in the hidden strength of the human spirit"