Democracy supporters await release of Aung San Suu Kyi

24 Oct 2010

On Sunday 24 October, Burma’s democracy leader and Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, will have spent a total of 15 out of the last 21 years in detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s latest detention started in 2003 when she was detained after the pro-junta militia, formerly known as the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA), attacked her convoy at Depayin, leaving an estimated 70 of her followers dead. She was initially placed under house arrest for ‘her own safety’ but there is no provision for ‘protective custody’ under Burmese law; the military junta then ruled that her detention was for reasons of ‘national security’.

In August 2009, Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of breaking the terms of her house arrest after an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her house and refused to leave. She was sentenced to a further three years in prison which was commuted to 18 months under house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s current period of house arrest is due to expire on 13 November, just days after the Burmese military regime’s ‘elections’ on 7 November, which are designed to facilitate the transition from military to civilian dictatorship. Daw Suu Kyi and many other key democracy and ethnic leaders are banned from taking part in the elections.
Keith Donald, Chairperson of Burma Action Ireland said “Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention is in violation of international law. Under Burmese law, she should be released on 13 November but if this does not happen, it will not be the first time the junta has failed to abide by its’ own laws to release her. Daw Suu Kyi and the other almost 2,200 political prisoners should be released immediately.”

On March 24 2009, the UN declared Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention illegal and urged her immediate release. In their judgment they stated that not only is her detention a breach of international law but also of Burma’s law.

Burma Action Ireland

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