Monday, February 8, 2010

Nelson Mandela and Political Prisoners

Nelson Mandela's former prison cell.

The New York Times has a remembrance from a former Indonesian political prisoner about when he learned of South Africa's Nelson Mandela's release . Twenty years ago, tomorrow Feb. 11, Mandela was released from prison and the democratic transition in South Africa began. The Times published brief reminiscences from seven  former Asian and African political prisoners.

Fadjroel Rachman has been kidnapped as a student leader and spent three years in prison under Suharto, arrested wrote

The news of Mr. Mandela’s release had just come over the radio that stood on a shelf in the canteen for prison guards directly in front of my cell. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Justice and freedom will win here in Indonesia, too, I thought, and I will be free. My people will be free from President Suharto’s military regime.
Mandela later met the imprisoned East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao in July 1997 and called for his release.

Indonesia still has political prisoners, mostly from West Papua and Maluku jailed for waiving flags. Join  Amnesty International USA's campaign to free Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage.

Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage

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