Garri Kasparov Joins Democracy Leaders at Press Gathering

Now, this was not your typical press gathering…
An Iraqi political leader, a Russian democracy activist and chess champion, a Former Spanish Prime Minister, a Former Czech Dissident-President, and a former Russian prisoner and former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister held a press conference in Prague today.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg introduces the members of the Democracy and Security Conference who will be answering questions from the local press: Left to right- Jose Maria Aznar (behind camera), Vaclav Havel, Natan Sharansky, an aide to Sharansky, Garri Kasparov (in tan jacket) and the Czech political leader. The press in the Czech Republic was very enthusiastic to have this historic event held in Prague.

The Democracy & Security Conference Leaders- Aznar, Havel and Sharansky.

The Democracy and Security Conference being held in Prague this week is a joint initiative of three long-time champions of human rights and democracy: human rights activist, author, political leader and founding Chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, Natan Sharansky; former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, leader of the “Velvet Revolution”; and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

Russian celebrity and democracy activist Garri Kasparov (in tan jacket) listens to former dissident Vaclav Havel during the press gathering.
Here is a short bio on Garri Kasparov from the conference biography pages:

Garri Kasparov came to fame as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985 at the age of 22, wresting the title from Anatoly Karpov. From 1989–91 he played a prominent role in the nascent democratic opposition to the Soviet system. After twenty years as the world’s top-ranked player, Mr. Kasparov retired from chess in 2005 to take up the struggle for Russian democracy. His organization, the United Civil Front, is a member of the Other Russia Alliance that is staging “Marches of Dissent” across Russia to protest President Putin’s policies and to defend democracy and civil rights. Mr. Kasparov has been a contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal since 1991 and is a popular keynote speaker. His book How Life Imitates Chess will soon be available in 17 languages.

Gaarri Kasparov is a brilliant speaker and brave critic of Vlad Putin.

On the left is seated Iraqi Sunni Muslim secularist politician, Mithal al-Alusi, a courageous Iraqi politician.

In September 2004, after making a public visit to Israel, al-Alusi was expelled from the Iraqi National Congress and sacked from his job at the De-Baathification Commission. This led him to establish the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, which ran in the January 2005 election. It received only 4,500, far from enough to gain a seat in the Council of Representatives. However, his list won enough votes to obtain one seat for Baghdad Province in the December 2005 election.

On February 19, 2005, Al-Alusi’s car was ambushed by armed assailants in the Hayy Al-Jami’a neighborhood of Baghdad. His two sons Ayman, 30, and Jamal, 22, were killed in the attack, as well as one of his bodyguards.

Certainly, Prague is not short on heroes this week.

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