Havel and Tutu: "Free Liu Xiaobo, now and without conditions"
The appeal of the two great dissidents for the release of the intellectual, sentenced to 11 years in prison for writing and signing a democratic manifesto "Charter 08".
 London (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Czech president Vaclav Havel have appealed to Chinese authorities to set the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo free "without conditions" before the awarding, next Friday, of the Nobel Prize for Peace 2010. The appeal was published yesterday by Britain's The Observer. Tutu and Havel are honorary co-chairmen of the association Freedom Now, that represents Liu in international bodies.

The detention of the dissident, Havel and Tutu write, is "sadly emblematic of intolerance by the Chinese government in front of individual expression." Now, they continue, China has "the unique opportunity to chart a new course" as a world leader, embracing its obligations to promote and protect human rights.

Now, reads in the appeal, "such an approach must begin with the observance by China of its obligations in accordance with its Constitution and international agreements. The first step must be the unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, before the Nobel peace prize award ceremony on Friday."