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Aung San Suu Kyi Still Detained

The military junta in Burma has extended the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace prize winner. Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained since May 2003, when thugs affiliated with the government attacked her convoy. She was imprisoned and subsequently transferred to house arrest.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the United States deplores the actions of the Burmese government:

"The [Burmese] regime has failed to charge Aung San Suu Kyi with any criminal offense, instead making the incredible assertion that she is being held for her own protection."

When parliamentary elections were held in May 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won three-hundred-ninety-two of the four-hundred-eighty-five seats. But the military junta refused to honor the results of the election.

Today, Aung San Suu Kyi and some one-thousand-one-hundred other Burmese remain detained for the peaceful expression of their political views. In June, in celebration of her sixtieth birthday, demonstrations were held outside Burmese embassies around the world. Fourteen Nobel prizewinners have called for Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made public a letter she sent to Aung San Suu Kyi reaffirming that the U.S. stands with her "and all others in your struggle to free the Burmese people." A retired civil servant living in Rangoon, Burma's largest city, said Aung San Suu Kyi "is still important for our future because it is only because of her that our country is getting international attention."

As State Department spokesman McCormack states, "The extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention is yet another step in the wrong direction by Burma's military leaders. In order to move the country toward democracy and national reconciliation, the Burmese regime should release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, and initiate a meaningful dialogue with the democratic opposition and ethnic minority political groups."

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