The United States has condemned the Burmese government's decision to extend the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year.
In a statement issued today Saturday, the U.S. State Department said the decision is another sign of the military regime's intransigence and brutal repression. It called again for Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate release.
Aung San Suu Kyi's latest term of house arrest had been due to expire today-Saturday. Her political party, the National League for Democracy, issued a statement calling the extension unlawful.
The party says there is no proof the pro-democracy leader poses a security threat so the extension is not in accordance with national law and hurts efforts for national reconciliation.
Aung San Suu Kyi - a Nobel peace prize winner - has been in detention for 10 of the past 16 years.
Leaders of the party met today in Rangoon to observe the 16th anniversary of its landslide victory in 1990 elections, which the junta has never recognized.
Aung San Suu Kyi was most recently taken into custody in May 2003, after her motorcade was attacked by a pro-junta mob as she was making a political tour of northern Burma.
Senior diplomats from two of Burma's neighbors have expressed disappointment in the decision to extend the pro-democracy leader's detention.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, whose country is the current chair of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations, and Thailand's Foreign Minister Kantathi Sphamongkhon said they were hoping she would be released today.
Burma's military government has promised democratic reforms, but there have been few signs of progress.