Amnesty International is demanding that the UN Security Council, notably China and Japan, and ASEAN countries, urgently intervene to secure Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from Insein prison. They are best placed to bring the necessary pressure to bear on the Myanmar government.
“The government of Myanmar must free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at once, without condition, and not return her to house arrest ” said Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International’s Myanmar expert.
Amnesty International is also highlighting the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s two female companions, Khin Khin Win and her daughter, who were arrested at the same time. All three are facing trial on 18 May in connection with an incident at the beginning of May when an American national allegedly swam across the lake in front of her house and stayed there for two days.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has recently been in poor health. When her regular doctor, Tin Myo Win, called on her on 7 May, security forces prevented him from entering her house. On returning home, he was taken away by the authorities. Dr. Tin Myo Win is a former prisoner of conscience, whose current whereabouts remain unknown.
“Khin Khin Win, her daughter and Dr. Tin Myo Win are now among more than 2,100 political prisoners currently being held in prison in Myanmar,” said Benjamin Zawacki. “Just like other political prisoners, they are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Conditions in Myanmar prisons are extremely bad and jeopardise the health of prisoners.”
“In the absence of a unified international voice, the Myanmar government will continue to act in utter disregard for human rights. Now more than ever, the Security Council and ASEAN member states must send an unequivocal signal to the generals that they can no longer act with impunity,” Zawacki concluded.
Background Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader of the opposition party, the National League for Democracy, and has been detained for 13 of the past 19 years, mostly under house arrest. Her current house detention order is set to expire on 27 May 2009. In March 2009, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi violated both international law and Myanmar’s domestic legislation.