Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi must be released

Following media reports that the authorities may be planning to extend Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year, Amnesty International called for her immediate and unconditional release, along with other political leaders imprisoned for their peaceful political activities.

"The detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders wrongfully imprisoned in Burma is a travesty of justice," said Catherine Baber, Deputy Asia Director at Amnesty International.

"The Burmese authorities should take this opportunity to release all peaceful critics, and advance measures to allow political dialogue to take place without fear of recrimination."

The authorities in Burma are currently preparing to reconvene the National Convention to draft a constitution on 5 December 2005. They plan to adopt provisions on legislative powers and sharing administrative and judicial powers.

The authorities have reportedly hinted in the past that they may release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at an unspecified date when the National Convention is finished.

“It is unacceptable that authorities are holding individuals hostage to the political process and are grossly abusing judicial procedures to do so.

"The continued detention of legitimate delegates to the National Convention removes government critics from the important process of drafting provisions for the country’s political future.

"It weakens the credibility of both this process and its outcome and is a significant obstacle to resolving Burma’s longstanding human rights crisis,“ said Catherine Baber.

"Instead of keeping key political figures under lock and key, the authorities should be advancing measures to allow peaceful political dialogue without fear of recrimination.

"They must release all prisoners of conscience, and repeal laws and practices which have for too long been used to penalise peaceful dissent."

Background

Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is currently under house arrest and her detention order expires on Sunday 27 November. She has been detained for more than ten of the last sixteen years. She has never been charged or tried.

Arrests of political leaders have increased in the last year, and at least five MPs were given lengthy prison terms, including U Khun Htun Oo and U Kyaw Min. Other political leaders are also serving lengthy prison sentences solely for their peaceful opposition to the authorities.

MPs Dr Than Nyein, 67, Daw May Win Myint, 55, and U Shwe Ohn, 82, are amongst those being held without charge or trial.

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