Aung San Suu Kyi must be freed this weekend: US lawyer

May 23rd, 2008 - 11:30 am ICT by admin  

Yangon, May 23 (DPA) Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi must be freed this weekend in accordance with the country’s laws, a US lawyer announced Friday. Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize laureate who heads the National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party in military-run Myanmar, has been under house detention since May 2003.

She will have completed five years under house detention Saturday, which is the legal limit for people deemed a “threat to the sovereignty and security of the State and the peace of the people”, according to Jared Genser, president of the US-based Freedom Now Legal Counsel to Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (Myanmar).

Genser’s legal memorandum was made available in Yangon.

Genser, a lawyer, argues that under Myanmar’s Article 10 of the State Protection Law 1975, Suu Kyi must be freed by Sunday as her five-year detention period, extended on an annual basis, ends Saturday.

“Her fifth term of house arrest was last extended by the junta May 25, 2007, for a period of one year. As a result, her house arrest expires at the end of May 24, 2008,” said Genser in a statement.

“Therefore, Suu Kyi should be released from her final term of house arrest in time to be able to attend the donor conference in Rangoon (Yangon) Sunday, May 25,” he added.

It is unclear how Myanmar’s ruling junta will deal with the legality Genser has raised, but it is deemed highly unlikely that they will free Suu Kyi at such a sensitive time for the regime.

The government has come under harsh international criticism for impeding an international disaster relief effort for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, that swept over the country’s central coastal region May 2-3, leaving at least 133,000 people dead or missing.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in Myanmar Thursday to assess the devastation, has estimated that three weeks after the storm aid has reached only 25 percent of the estimated 2.5 million people affected by the storm, a poor performance blamed primarily on the junta.

On Sunday Ban will chair a donor pledging conference in Yangon to raise international contributions to the relief and rehabilitation efforts underway while hopefully removing some of the government-made obstacles to the effort.

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