That's me on an early training run in Byron Bay when I weighed over 100 kg.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Your letters set me free

This letter sums up what Amnesty can achieve:

"My name is Birtukan Mideksa, and your letters set me free.

I once had no hope of freedom. A single mother and former opposition party leader in Ethiopia, I was arrested in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison after my political party participated in protests disputing the result of national elections.

I had committed no crime. I was targeted only for peacefully expressing my political views. Yet at the time I suppose I was lucky to be alive: security forces had responded to the public outcry with deadly force, killing 187 people and wounding 765 others.

The government in Ethiopia thought it could silence dissent by locking opponents away forever. I had been in solitary confinement in Kaliti Prison for months when Amnesty supporters came to my defence. When my case was featured in the Write for Rights campaign, thousands of people called for my freedom.

Your letters were my protection during the worst time in my life. You were my voice when I had none. Your letters kept hope alive at the darkest hours of need.

Thanks to Amnesty International, I regained my freedom in October 2010.

I am so grateful that your letters and action worked for me. Now I urge you to keep up your life-saving work by taking action for others. I offer my voice for Amnesty International, and I hope that you will do the same."

Full version here

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