12/09/2011, 00.00
CHINA

Nobel Laureates in support of Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned for 11 years

The dissident is the only winner of the Nobel Prize in prison. His “immediate and unconditional release” demanded by Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams, Desmond Tutu and Vaclav Havel. The West has forgotten him.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Five Nobel Laureates today launched a new campaign to demand the release of Liu Xiaobo, the winner of the Prize for Peace last year, who is serving an 11 year prison sentence.

The campaign takes place on the eve of the awarding of the prize this year, which will take place on 11 December. The International Committee for the support of Liu Xiaobo points out that Liu is the only Nobel peace prize winner in prison and accuses the international community of having forgotten him.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day 2009, accused of "subversion of state power" for publishing some articles on the Internet on democracy, and drafting the Charter 08 manifesto, which suggests China introduce democratic reforms to ensure a balanced and comprehensive development of the nation. While the world lauded him as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Beijing accused him of being "a criminal".

"Unfortunately, outside of China, his 11 year sentence was soon and easily forgotten," says the group, which demands Liu’s "the immediate and unconditional release".

Last year, when Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Prize, Beijing arrested dozens of dissidents, fearful that some of them could go to Oslo to receive the award. His wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest. The award ceremony took place in front of an empty chair (see photo).

The campaign for Liu Xiaobo is supported by Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Desmond Tutu. The former Czech President Vaclav Havel has often asked Beijing for his releas. 
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