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Updated: June 19, 2010 15:20 IST

UN chief urges release of Aung San Suu Kyi

AP
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Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi smiles while exiting the Inya Lake Hotel after meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Yangon, Myanmar. File photo: AP.
Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi smiles while exiting the Inya Lake Hotel after meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Yangon, Myanmar. File photo: AP.

On the eve of Aung San Suu Kyi’s 65th birthday, U.N. Secretary—General Ban Ki—moon demanded on Friday that Myanmar’s military rulers release the detained pro—democracy leader and all other political prisoners.

The U.N. chief told a news conference that he remains “deeply concerned” that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is still under house arrest.

Ms. Suu Kyi’s house arrest was extended last year after she was convicted on charges of violating the terms of her detention when an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside property. Her National League for Democracy party won the last election in 1990 but was never allowed to take power and she has been detained for about 14 of the past 20 years.

The first elections since 1990 are scheduled this year, part of the junta’s long—announced “roadmap to democracy,” which critics deride as a sham designed to cement the power of the military, which has ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, since 1962. The country’s new electoral laws were widely criticized as designed to keep Ms. Suu Kyi out of the race.

“I have been persistently, consistently demanding that all the political prisoners including Daw Aun San Suu Kyi should be released without condition as soon as possible so that they will be able to participate in the political process since Myanmar is going to have an election this year,” Mr. Ban said.

“This election shoud be an inclusive process where all the parties and all the people can participate,” the secretary—general said. “This election must be held in a credible and impartial and objective way.”

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