Liu Xiaobo named fourth Nobel peace laureate while in detention

Those regimes were Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa and Myanmar's military junta. A brief sketch of those Nobel peace laureates:

Carl von Ossietzky (1889-1938): German journalist and pacifist was awarded the prize in 1936, retroactive to 1935. The Nazi regime had arrested him in 1933 and placed him in the Papenburg-Esterwegen concentration camp.

International activists launched a campaign on his behalf, the Nazi regime tried to intimidate the Nobel committee with threats.  Ossietzky was released in 1936 but remained under police surveillance. In poor health after being abused in the concentration camp, he died of tuberculosis in 1938.

Albert John Luthuli (1898-1967): Prominent South African anti-Apartheid campaigner and leader of the African National Congress.  He was serving a five-year banning order confining him to a 15-mile radius of his house when the Nobel Committee named him as the 1960 recipient. The ban was lifted for 10 days to permit Luthuli to travel to Oslo a year later to attend the Nobel ceremonies in December 1961.

Aung San Suu Kyi (1945 - ): Leading pro-democracy activist and opponent of Myanmar's military regime, named the Nobel Peace Prize recipient for 1991, two years after she had been placed under house arrest. Her sons Alexander and Kim accept the prize on her behalf in Oslo that year. She was released in November 2010 after spending almost 15 of 21 years under house arrest.

Besides these peace prize laureates, two prominent writers - both from the former Soviet Union - were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but were unable to receive the awards at the time:

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) was named the winner of the 1958 Nobel for literature for "Doctor Zhivago". Four days after accepting the award, he sent a message to the Swedish Academy saying: "I must refuse it. Please do not take offence at my voluntary rejection."

Pasternak's move was widely seen as having been made under strong pressure by the Soviet authorities. Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was named the 1970 Nobel literature prize recipient, a year after he had been expelled from the official Union of Writers.

The author of "The Gulag Archipelago" and other works dealing with the Soviet system of prison camps and highly critical of the Stalinism was expelled by the Soviet Union and stripped of his citizenship in February, 1974. He received his prize retroactively at the Nobel ceremonies in December 1974.

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