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Asia-pacific

Suu Kyi's latest detention reaches six-year mark

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-05-30

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi marked the sixth anniversary of her latest period of detention on Saturday, among calls for her release from Washington and renewed concerns for the health of the pro-democracy icon.

AFP - Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi marked the sixth anniversary of her latest period of detention Saturday, as she awaits her trial verdict amid renewed fears for her health.
  
Members of the Nobel peace laureate's political party donated food to monks in early morning ceremonies as they recalled her arrest in 2003 following a pro-junta mob attack on her motorcade that left about 70 people dead.


  
She has been held under house arrest since the incident near Depeyin in northern Myanmar, but was moved to Yangon's Insein Prison two weeks ago following fresh charges against her.
  
The 63-year-old has spent 13 of the past 19 years in detention and the new trial has drawn international outrage.
  
On Saturday US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told a high-level security forum in Singapore that Myanmar's rulers must release her and begin dialogue with the opposition.
  
"We need to see real change in Burma -- the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and the institution of meaningful dialogue between the junta and the opposition," Gates said, using Myanmar's former name, Burma.
  
On Saturday the junta again attempted to defend the fresh charges relating to the surprise visit of an eccentric American to Aung San Suu Kyi's home in early May.
  
"Every citizen is to understand the fact that the government's promulgating the laws and taking action against offenders... are not associated with any forms of discrimination but just in the interests of the nation and the people," state newspaper the New Light of Myanmar said.
  
On Friday Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party said it was "very concerned" about her health as she was suffering from leg cramps.
  
NLD spokesman and her lawyer Nyan Win went to the prison Saturday in an attempt to meet his client after discovering Friday that final legal arguments had been delayed from Monday until Friday next week.
  
She faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching her house arrest after 53-year-old Mormon John Yettaw swam to her house in Yangon.
  
State media said Yettaw had joined lawyers, police and judges on an inspection visit of her home on Friday.

Date created : 2009-05-30

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