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Aung San Suu Kyi Refuses Release - 2003-11-08


Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest, a UN human rights envoy says, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner is refusing liberty for herself until everyone arrested with her five months ago is also released.

The UN official, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, told reporters in Rangoon today (Saturday) that Burma's ruling generals told him this week that Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer being detained.

At a news conference in the Burmese capital, Mr. Pinheiro said Aung San Suu Kyi was in high spirits when he met with her at her residence Thursday, but she told him she would not accept any "privileges" until 35 of her colleagues are also released from detention.

More than 100 of Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters from Burma's National League for Democracy were taken into custody on May 30th, after a bloody clash with a pro-government mob in northern Burma.

Most have been released, but 35 pro-democracy activists are still being held in what the military government calls "guest houses."

Mr. Pinheiro, who is concluding a six-day human-rights fact-finding mission in Burma, says he has urged the generals who rule Burma to release all political prisoners.

The UN envoy also met with representatives of Burma's ethnic minorities this week. Although Mr. Pinheiro did not reveal what was discussed, he had been sent to Burma to look into alleged human-rights abuses including the rape of women in Shan state, where separatists have rebelled against the junta's control.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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