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Burma (Burma): Authorities must end crackdown and reveal fate of 100 'disappeared'

Amnesty International is very concerned at reports of further arrests of members of the political opposition this week, following a violent incident last Friday 30 May when at least four people were killed and scores detained.

The organisation has issued an urgent call on the Burma authorities to release immediately all those who have been detained for their peaceful political activities, and has demanded that the whereabouts and any charges against more than 100 people who have 'disappeared' be made clear.

Amnesty International said:

'These events represent a significant deterioration in the human rights situation in Burma. Steps towards improvement have been sadly undermined by this latest crackdown.'

Amnesty International has received reports that more National League for Democracy (NLD) members and MPs elect in Kachin State, Mandalay Division, and Yangon Division have been detained this week. It is not known where they are being held or on what charges.

Grave concerns remain for more than 100 people who have been missing since a violent incident on 30 May 2003, in which between four and 70 persons are reported to have been killed, after members of the police and the army attacked NLD members and supporters travelling in Upper Burma.

Among those who remain missing after the violent incident on 30 May 2003 are NLD Deputy Chairman U Tin U, who was reportedly injured, members of the NLD Youth, MPs elect, party members and students. It is believed that NLD Central Executive Committee members detained after the incident are under house arrest.

Amnesty International said:

'There is serious concern for the safety of those missing and believed to be detained by the authorities, particularly since many have reportedly been badly injured. The authorities must launch a full and independent investigation into the attack and subsequent detentions.'

Under Burma's law, anyone detained by the police must be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. To Amnesty International's knowledge, this has not occurred. Even though the authorities have confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the NLD, and 18 others are being detained, they have so far failed to clarify the legal basis for their custody and that of any other detainee.

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