Ban voices concern as Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi faces new charges

14 May 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “gravely concerned” about the news that detained pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for several years, has been moved to Myanmar’s Insein Prison to face criminal charges.

“The Secretary-General believes that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is an essential partner for dialogue in Myanmar’s national reconciliation and calls on the Government not to take any further action that could undermine this important process,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Ms. Suu Kyi, who leads the National League for Democracy (NLD), and all those who have a contribution to make to the future of their country “must be free to be able to do so to ensure that the political process is credible,” the statement added.

According to information received by the independent UN expert on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Ms. Suu Kyi and two aides were escorted this morning by security forces to Insein Prison, where they were charged by a special court. They are currently detained in the Insein compound and their trial has been scheduled for 18 May.

“I call on the Government of Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi and her aides unconditionally,” stated Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana, who reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

The new charges, according to a news release issued in Geneva, are said to be in connection with the recent intrusion of an American citizen into the home of Ms. Suu Kyi.

“Since her house is well guarded by security forces, the responsibility for preventing such intrusions, and alerting the authorities, lies with the security forces and not with Aung San Suu Kyi and her aides,” Mr. Ojea Quintana said.

He added that in order to ensure national reconciliation and democratic transition, to which the Myanmar leadership has committed itself, all 2,156 prisoners of conscience currently detained by the authorities should be released before the 2010 elections.

Mr. Ojea Quintana, who works in an independent and unpaid capacity, has visited Myanmar twice since he was appointed to his post in May 2008, most recently this past February.


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Ban reaffirms concerns over Myanmar in response to US senators’ letter

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today that he shared concerns expressed in a letter sent to him by a group of United States senators about the situation in Myanmar, particularly the continued detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.