20 years on Suu Kyi receives Sakharov Prize in person

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Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent fifteen years locked up before being released just after controversial elections in November 2010. She was elected to parliament in partial elections in 2012.

In Strasbourg today she was finally able to receive the Sakharov Prize she was awarded in the European Parliament in 1990, at a time when she was under house arrest by the military junta.

Suu Kyi, sporting a yellow flower in her hair, was greeted by applause from MEPs in the Strasbourg plenary session, before receiving her award from the President of the Parliament, Martin Schulz (Germany).

She was finally allowed freedom of movement three years after those fifteen years of house arrest in Rangoon and so had not been able to personally receive an award which recognizes individuals fighting for human rights.

“You have fought, you have suffered, but the point is that you have won,” said Mr Schulz, who hailed “a great example of freedom and democracy”.

Suu Kyi said: “We must be pragmatic: we have progressed since 1990, but progress is not enough. I hope you will help us to free our people from fear, because that fear still exists.”

Ms Suu Kyi, 68, is touring Europe to convince European leaders to put pressure on Burma, especially to persuade it to change its constitution so that the country might be more democratic.