Friday, September 18, 2009


Lawyers for Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi are appealing against her 18-month house arrest extension.
Ms Suu Kyi is not being allowed to appear in court in person. Official media have been defending the decision.
Separately, Human Rights Watch has reported that the number of political prisoners in Burma has doubled in two years, to 2,200.
The military regime has been marking 21 years in its current form by claiming the release of 7,000 prisoners.
Prison releases in the past have been used to free non-political prisoners and are often accompanied or followed by increased arrests of political and other prisoners.
Aung San Suu Kyi's detention was extended after she was convicted of breaching security laws by allowing an uninvited US man into her home.
Ms Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the last 20 years in detention. The latest sentence has drawn international condemnation, and means she cannot take part in elections next year.
Appeals have also been filed on behalf of two of the opposition leader's companions, who were convicted on similar charges, her lawyers added.

The number of political prisoners in Burma's notorious jails has doubled in the two years since the military crushed protests led by Buddhist monks, says the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW).
It has reported that there are more than 2,200 people jailed for their beliefs in 43 jails, often held in solitary confinement in small, dark cells.

"Burma's generals are planning elections next year that will be a sham if their opponents are in prison," said HRW's Tom Malinowski.
"Beginning in late 2008, closed courts and courts inside prisons sentenced more than 300 activists, including political figures, human rights defenders, labour activists, artists, journalists, Internet bloggers, and Buddhist monks and nuns to lengthy prison terms.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) suspended prison visits in the country in early 2006, citing the regime's failure to authorise visits since late 2005.
The regime had insisted its officers be present at visits - a contravention of the ICRC's operating procedures.
Meanwhile, there have been at least seven explosions in the northern part of Burma's main city, Rangoon.
A Burmese official said there was minor damage but no casualties.
Information coming out of Burma is tightly controlled by the military government, and there has been no indication of who may have been behind the blasts.



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