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Nobel Peace laureates who missed their ceremonies
by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) June 16, 2012

More than 20 years after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will give her Nobel lecture on Saturday, prevented, like only a handful of other laureates, from doing so at the time.

Since the prestigious prize was first awarded in 1901, only twice has neither the laureate nor a representative been able to travel to Oslo to accept the award.

Three other laureates were unable to attend the traditional prize ceremony, but they each had family members accept their award for them, as was the case for Suu Kyi.

Here are the five laureates in question.

- Laureates who never picked up the prize:

* CARL VON OSSIETZKY (Germany): The journalist and pacifist won the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize. Imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Ossietzky was unable to make the trip to Oslo when his prize ceremony was held in 1936.

The journalist, who had been arrested three years earlier in a raid on opponents following the Reichstag fire, was the first ever regime critic to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Furious over the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision, Adolf Hitler banned all German citizens from accepting a Nobel in any category.

While Ossietzky was unable to pick up his diploma and gold Nobel medal, an obscure German lawyer tricked the family into allowing him to pocket the prize money.

* LIU XIAOBO (China): The jailed dissident won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Honoured "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China", Liu's chair was symbolically left empty and no award was handed out. His wife Liu Xia was placed under house arrest after the prize was announced and his three brothers were blocked from leaving China.

- Laureates who had the prize accepted on their behalf:

* ANDREI SAKHAROV (USSR): The dissident won the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize. Honoured by the Nobel committee for his "fearless personal commitment in upholding the fundamental principles for peace between men," Sakharov was barred by Soviet authorities from traveling to Norway and was represented by his wife Elena Bonner at the 1975 ceremony. She read the Nobel lecture written by Sakharov.

* LECH WALESA (Poland): The trade union activist won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. Honoured for his "contribution, made with considerable personal sacrifice, to ensure the workers' right to establish their own organisations," Walesa feared he would not be allowed back into Poland if he travelled to Oslo for the 1983 ceremony and had his wife Danuta collect his award. Their son read the Nobel lecture prepared by Lech Walesa.

* AUNG SAN SUU KYI (Myanmar): The Myanmar opposition leader and democracy champion won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Honoured "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights," Suu Kyi feared she would not be allowed to return to Myanmar if she travelled to Oslo. She was instead represented at the 1991 prize ceremony by her two sons and her husband, who accepted the award on her behalf. Symbolically, an empty chair was placed on the stage to mark her absence. On Saturday she was to give her traditional Nobel lecture.


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