UN human rights chief joins call for release of Myanmar opposition figure

12 August 2009

The United Nations human rights chief today joined the call made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others for the immediate and unconditional release of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose house arrest has been extended for another 18 months.

“I deplore the ongoing persecution of a democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for almost a quarter of a century,” Navi Pillay said in a statement issued today.

“I am seriously disturbed by her arbitrary detention and the basis of charges against her, an event that was clearly beyond her control, with the court failing to properly review the legitimacy of her house arrest in the first instance,” added the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ms. Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has spent over 12 years under house arrest in Yangon.

Yesterday a Myanmar court ruled that she had violated state security laws after an uninvited United States citizen gained access to her home, and sentenced her to a further 18 months of house arrest.

The High Commissioner joined the call made by Mr. Ban yesterday for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms. Suu Kyi, together with the release of all political prisoners in the South-east Asian nation.

These include those who are facing particularly harsh sentences for simply exercising their freedom of expression, her statement added, such as the two NLD candidates elected as members of Parliament in 1990, but who were subsequently arrested and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for expressing concerns to the Secretary-General through the form of a letter.


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Deploring Myanmar verdict, Ban urges immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today deplored the decision by a Myanmar court to sentence pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional 18 months of house arrest, and urged that she be released immediately.