Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Myanmar Junta extends San Suu Kyi's detention

International community and Myanmar people to free Noble laurate pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,the Burma's junta on Tuesday extended her detention period, a government source said.

The extension was reportedly read out to the detained Burmese opposition leader on Tuesday afternoon by government officials, who visited her at her lakeside villa in Rangoon's University Avenue, the source said.

The source said the extension is for another six months. However, some reports said the extension is for a year. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the information.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was told of the extension, as her party – the National League for Democracy – today observed the 18th anniversary of the landslide victory in the general election in 1990.

While her party leaders remained unaware of the extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention, Nyan Win the NLD spokesperson said it is against the law and condemned the ruling junta for manipulating the law to their convenience.

"The government cannot do whatever it likes. There are laws and if it is true then it means lawlessness," Nyan Win told Mizzima.

He added that laws are meant to be followed by all citizens, and that if the junta has extended the detention period of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, they are violating the law, which they have created.

Meanwhile, the United States based Freedom Now, an advocacy group lobbying for freedom of prisoners of conscience across the world, said the junta's extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention is against both international and domestic law.

"The Burmese junta's extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest is a clear violation of its own law and comes as no surprise," said Jared Genser, President of Freedom Now and a personal counsel for Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to Burmese law, a person in Burma who is deemed a "threat to the sovereignty and security of the State and the peace of the people" may be detained for up to a maximum of five years through a restrictive order, renewable one year at a time.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained for more than 12 of the past 18 years, was last arrested in May 2003. She completes a consecutive detention of five years on May 24, 2008, according to her personal counsel Genser.

Earlier today, about 20 of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's party youths were rounded up by the police and herded into policed trucks as they were shouting slogans and marching towards her house.
Burmese military junta continues to crack down on the Opposition arresting about 30 youth activists on Tuesday evening.

Youth members of the National League for Democracy, Burma's main opposition party were arrested by the Special Branch of the police from their residence, Naing Ngan Linn information in-charge of the NLD youth wing said.

"So far we could only get the name of Kyi Lwin from South Dagon from among those arrested last night," Naing Ngan Linn said.

While still unable to get the names of the arrested NLD members, he said they were rounded up in the evening after 18 out of the 24 NLD youth members were arrested earlier for marching towards Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house demanding her release.

A police source in Rangoon, however, told Mizzima that Kyi Lwin, the only person so far identified, was rounded up by the Special Branch of the police, local police and ward level officials.

"According to information I have, the authorities are searching for activists with their photographs. I think they must have taken photographs of those who held protests yesterday in front of the NLD office," Naing Ngan Linn said.

However, NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said he had not heard of the fresh arrests."I have not heard of any other arrests, all I know is that yesterday afternoon 18 activists were arrested. They have not yet been released. There is a twelve year old boy among them. And we don't know where they have been kept," Nyan Win said.

Among those arrested on Tuesday afternoon are– Saw Pyih Phyo Aung, Phyo Ko Naing, Thet Min Soe, Tun Win Thein, Hla Myo Naing, Aung Pe, Tun Tun Win, Pyih Pyih, Kyaw Myo Naing, Yan Naing Tun, Maung San, Moe Kyaw Zin, Linn Aung Tun, Win Min Aung, Htet Htet Wai Oo and her twelve-year old son Ye Yint Min Htet Oo.

On Tuesday 24 NLD youth held a brief protest in front of the party head office in west Shwegondine in Bahan Township, and marched towards party leader Aung San Suu Kyi's residence on University Avenue shouting slogans like "Free.. Free.. Aung San Suu Kyi", "We need… immediate aid".

But their protest march was short-lived because the police who were waiting for them on Kaba Aye Pagoda Street in three 'Dyna' light trucks rounded them up. While several activists escaped, 18 were arrested.
Eyewitnesses said the youths shouted 'Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi' and marched towards her lakeside villa.

However, it is still unclear where the youths have been taken.

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