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Free Aung San Suu Kyi


May 30th marked the second anniversary of the latest attack on Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters. The Nobel Laureate and National League for Democracy general secretary was detained in May 2003 after Burmese junta-affiliated thugs brutally attacked her convoy, which included other members of the National League for Democracy party, their supporters and innocent bystanders.

The Burmese junta continues to ignore requests by the international community to investigate the attack, and refuses to take responsibility or hold accountable those officials reportedly involved. And conditions are getting worse for Aung San Suu Kyi. In December, the junta ordered her staff to leave the compound where she lives. The junta also restricted the visits of her personal physician, limiting her access to health care.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has repeatedly called on the Burmese junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi and to begin a genuine national reconciliation and the process of democratization. But U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the military junta continues to hold Aung San Suu Kyi "under house arrest and [she] is virtually incommunicado":

"We're certainly deeply disappointed. The junta continues to ignore international calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, and all the political prisoners, and we call on them again to do so immediately and unconditionally."

International observers note that there are more than one-thousand-three-hundred other political prisoners in Burma. Arrests of pro-democracy activists continue unabated. Meanwhile, the Burmese junta has convened a national convention to draft a constitution that will entrench military rule.

State Department spokesman Boucher says, "Any new constitution, referendum, or election emerging from the deliberations of this unrepresentative process will be seriously flawed and cannot represent the true will of the Burmese people."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.

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