Who doesn't pick up their Nobel Prize? A look

Published June 14, 2012

| Associated Press

On Saturday, Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will give her much-awaited Nobel Lecture at Oslo City Hall, 21 years late. The Myanmar democracy activist, held under house arrest by the military-led government for 15 years, was unable to accept her award at the time and it was handed over to her 18-year-old son. Suu Kyi arrives in Oslo on Friday on the Norwegian leg of her European tour — her first visit to the continent in 24 years.

Since 1901, the Nobel prizes have been awarded annually except during World War I and World War II. Here's a look at other Nobel no-shows among more than 830 laureates:

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LIU XIAOBO: 2010

For the first time in 74 years, the Nobel Peace Prize was not handed over in 2010. The winner, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, was in prison in China so he was represented by an empty chair at the ceremony in Oslo. The Chinese government, enraged by the award to the democracy advocate and literary critic, kept his wife and other family members and supporters from leaving the country to pick up the prize and sought to dissuade foreign diplomats from attending the awards ceremony.

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CARL VON OSSIETZKY: 1936

Before Liu Xiaobo, the last previous time a Nobel Peace Prize was not presented was in 1936, when Adolf Hitler prevented German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from accepting his prize. The German media — by then under Nazi control — initially stayed silent on the award, but later German newspapers reported about it in overwhelmingly negative terms, describing the award as a scandal and Ossietzky as a traitor.

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LECH WALESA: 1983

Lech Walesa, the Polish dissident and leader of the Solidarity union movement, sent his wife Danuta to accept the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize for him, fearing that Poland's Communist regime would bar him from returning if he left the country. Twelve years later, he made his first visit to Norway as the Polish president.

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ANDREI SAKHAROV: 1975

Soviet authorities barred dissident Andrei Sakharov from collecting the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize and stripped him of his honorary titles. But his wife, Jelena Bonner, was able to accept the prize for him because she had been granted an exit visa to go to Italy to treat an eye disease before the award was announced.

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LE DUC THO: 1973

North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for negotiating the Vietnam peace accord. However, he said he was not in a position to accept the prize, citing continued fighting in Vietnam.

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ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN: 1970

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Literature Prize but could not receive it personally in Stockholm because he was afraid that Soviet officials would not let him back into the country. A special ceremony was proposed to be held at the Swedish Embassy in Moscow but Sweden refused to accept the solution, fearing it might damage Swedish-Soviet relations. Instead, Solzhenitsyn received the prize at a 1974 ceremony in Stockholm after being deported.

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JEAN-PAUL SARTRE: 1964

French writer Jean-Paul Sartre declined the 1964 Nobel Literature Prize because he had consistently refused all official honors.

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BORIS PASTERNAK: 1958

Writer Boris Pasternak of the Soviet Union initially accepted the 1958 Nobel Literature Prize but was later forced by the Kremlin to decline it.

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