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US, Britain Call For Release of Burmese Activist - 2003-09-27


The United States and Britain are calling on Burma's military rulers for the unconditional release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

The 58-year-old Nobel peace laureate was returned to house arrest Friday as she left a hospital after major surgery, reportedly to treat a gynecological condition. She had been detained since May in an undisclosed location until earlier this month.

Aung San Suu Kyi's home is now under tight security and her personal physician says Burmese military authorities are screening all her visitors. The government said she is resting under medical supervision.

The U.S. State Department expressed concern Friday about Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma, calling on Rangoon to lift all restrictions on the democracy leader immediately.

Britain's Foreign Office also demanded Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate release, accusing Burma's military leaders of flagrantly disregarding their people's demands for democracy and human rights.

Burma's neighbors, Indonesia and Thailand, called San Suu Kyi's return to her home a step in the right direction, but also called for the lifting of all restrictions on her.

Burma's military government has detained Aung San Suu Kyi in one form or another for most of the last 15 years. Her National League For Democracy won Burma's last parliamentary election by a landslide in 1990, but the military government refused to relinquish power.

The United Nations special envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail, is scheduled to visit Rangoon next week to try to push the government toward more rapid political reform.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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