Monday, May 18, 2009

Continued Persecution Of Aung San Suu Kyi

Burmese citizens living in Japan hold portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally in Tokyo, 14 May 2009.

(VOA) -Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, long a symbol of her country's aspirations for democratic rule, has been under house arrest for much of the past 19 years, and it appears authorities there may be preparing to keep her there for some time to come.

New charges against her are as unfair as those that led to her initial arrest in 1990, and the United States joins with calls in the international community for her immediate release.

The Nobel Prize laureate was taken from her home May 14 and told she would stand trial for an apparent violation of her long-term house arrest. An uninvited visitor sneaked into her guarded residence last week, violating a ban on her meeting with anyone without government permission. He was arrested upon leaving her compound and remains in custody.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2008)

The U.S. is seeking more information on the incident and following the situation closely. The unauthorized visitor, John Yettaw, is an American. The U.S. has long pressed for Aung San Suu Kyi's release and that of an estimated 2,100 other political prisoners held by Burma's military rulers.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won Burma's last elections in 1990, but the results were ignored by the government. New elections are planned next year, in which Aung San Suu Kyi likely could not have a voice if she were still in custody. A disputed constitution approved in a sham referendum last year may bar her from holding office.

Aung San Suu Kyi should be freed immediately. Her detention, already unfair, has lasted too long.

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