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Detained In Burma

The supreme court of Burma has rejected an appeal to release Su Su Nwe, a human rights activist. A member of the National League for Democracy, Su Su Nwe was arrested in August 2005 and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. In 2004, she successfully sued local authorities in Kawmoo township over forced labor practices.

The Hong-Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission said that she was the first person to win a lawsuit against the Burmese government for its use of forced labor. Government officials countersued and charged her with making threats against them. In a written statement, the U.S. State Department says that Su Su Nwe "was sentenced on trumped up charges."

Su Su Nwe suffers from a heart condition. According to human rights groups, she was hospitalized in January for shortness of breath and anemia. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says that the U.S. is "concerned about reports that her health is deteriorating":

"Su Su Nwe's case highlights the brutality of the Burmese regime and its disregard for democratic principles and fundamental human rights."

The U.S., says Mr. McCormack, "reaffirms its unwavering support for the right of the Burmese people to speak out against the junta and its repressive policies":

"We call on the regime to release Su Su Nwe and over one-thousand-one-hundred political prisoners it is holding and to initiate a credible and inclusive political process that empowers the Burmese people to determine their own future."

President George W. Bush recently cited Burma as one of several countries in need of freedom and reform. The people of Burma and others, said Mr. Bush will not be forgotten "because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well."

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