New York, NY (BBN)- Calling on Burmese government to drop all charges against pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the top United Nations human rights official Friday appealed to authorities for her immediate and unconditional release.
According to reports, Ms. Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for several years, and two aides were escorted Thursday morning by security forces to Insein Prison, where they were charged by a special court. They are said to have been charged with violating the terms of her house arrest, after an uninvited United States citizen gained access to their home.
Ms. Suu Kyi, who leads the National League for Democracy (NLD), and her two aides are currently detained in the Insein compound and her trial has been scheduled for 18 May.
“Her continued detention, and now this latest trial, breach international standards of due process and fair trial,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a press statement.
It had been hoped that the Nobel Peace Prize winner would be released when her current detention order, which has already continued for one year longer than the maximum of five years permitted under Burmese laws, expires at the end of this month.
Ms. Suu Kyi has spent over 12 years under house arrest. On 30 May 2003, she was re-arrested under a law which states that a person “suspected of having committed or believed to be about to commit, any act which endangers the sovereignty and security of the state” can be detained.
In May 2007, the government extended her arrest for another year, bringing her detention to the five-year limit, and her detention was prolonged for sixth year last May.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and guarantees the right to fair trial and to freedom of opinion and expression, which, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Suu Kyi has exercised peacefully and courageously over many years.
BBN/SS/SI/AD-16May09-3:10 pm (BST)