If you think writing letters is passé, that touching pen to paper is meaningless in the age of Facebook and Twitter, remember my story.
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 after my political party participated in protests disputing the results of the elections.
Security forces responded to the public outcry with deadly force, shooting dead 187 people and wounding 765 others.
I committed no crime. I was targeted solely for peacefully expressing my political views.
Help free other prisoners of conscience like me. Join Amnesty’s 2011 Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon. There are 15 urgent cases of abuse and injustice in need of your action.
The government in Ethiopia thought it could quell dissent by locking opponents away forever.
I was serving a life sentence in Kaliti Prison when Amnesty International members came to my defense. When my case was featured in the 2009 Write for Rights campaign, thousands of people called for my freedom.
Your letters were my protection during the months I spent in solitary confinement. 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 good work by taking action for others. I offer my voice for Amnesty International, and I hope that you will do the same.