Asia, Europe ministers call for Myanmar prisoner release

27th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been detained for 13 of the past 19 years, since her National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in 1990 polls but was not allowed to take power.

Hanoi -- Asian and European foreign ministers on Tuesday called for Myanmar to release its prisoners, citing "recent developments" in the case of opposition democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"In light of the concern about the recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, ministers ... called for the early release of those under detention and the lifting of restrictions placed on political parties," said the chair's statement issued at the end of the two-day Asia-Europe (ASEM) foreign ministers' meeting.

Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial in military-ruled Myanmar where she faces up to five years in jail on charges of violating her house arrest after an incident in which an American man swam to her house.

On Tuesday she testified that she did not violate her house arrest and only offered the man temporary shelter.

Her lawyers said the house arrest was to expire Wednesday but a top Myanmar police officer said the junta had the right to extend her detention by six months.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been detained for 13 of the past 19 years, since her National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in 1990 polls but was not allowed to take power.

In their statement, the ASEM ministers called on Myanmar to prepare and conduct elections scheduled for next year "in a free and fair manner."

They also encouraged the government to engage "all stakeholders in an inclusive process in order to achieve national reconciliation and economic and social development."

ASEM ministers also called on the international community to increase humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.

ASEM groups the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- which includes Myanmar --- with the European Union (EU), China, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan and India.

AFP/Expatica

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