Burma: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must be released immediately

Lesley Warner, Amnesty International UK Media Director, said:

'Aung San Suu Kyi is detained under a law which allows her to be held without charge or trial and without access to legal counsel for up to a year. The Burma authorities claim that she is being held for her protection yet there is clearly no protection for her basic rights.

'Aung San Suu Kyi should not be held under these provisions which deem her a threat to state sovereignty and security. She must be released immediately and unconditionally.'

The administrative detention law under which Aung San Suu Kyi is held allows people to be detained arbitrarily on order of the executive, with the detention order renewable for a period of up to five years.

The human rights organisation also called upon the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to release U Tin Oo, National League for Democracy (NLD) Deputy Chairman, and the 130+ people who reportedly have been held on account of their peaceful political activities after the incident on 30 May 2003.

'All the detained, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, must immediately be allowed full access to lawyers, relatives and medical care,' stressed Lesley Warner. 'It is not enough for the authorities to state that they will be released 'when the time is right.''

Amnesty International calls upon the SPDC to amend or revoke the State Protection Law allowing arbitrary detention, in order to make it conform to international standards.

As is the case with other security legislation in the country, the provisions of this law fail to adequately define what constitutes a danger to state sovereignty or security, and thereby allows authorities to unlawfully detain and imprison people for their expression of peaceful political views.

Amnesty International is also concerned that the prolonged detention without charge or trial allowed by the State Protection Law contravenes international human rights standards.

Background Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was previously detained between 1989 and 1995 under Section 10 (b) of the State Protection Law, which allowed house arrest.

In 1991, authorities amended the law, under Law No 11/91 (Law Amending the Law Safeguarding the State from the Danger of Destructionist Elements), to increase detention without charge or trial from up to three years to up to five years, renewable on a yearly basis rather than every 180 days.

A number of prisoners of conscience whose prison sentences have expired are also being held under Section 10(a) and (b) of the State Protection Law. Many are suffering from medical problems. These include student leader, Paw U Tun, also known as Min Ko Naing, who has been detained since March 1989 on account of his leadership of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions.

The organisation also calls on the SPDC to release all political prisoners who have served their sentences and are still being held under Section 10(a) and (b) of the 1975 State Protection Law.

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