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Myanmar extends house arrest for pro-democracy leader despite release calls

[JURIST] The military government of Myanmar [official website] - formerly Burma - Saturday extended the house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [advocacy website; BBC profile] for another year, according to a government source speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity. Suu Kyi met with a senior United Nations [official website] official last week regarding her detention, and members of her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) [party website], were optimistic that she would be released after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official website] appealed directly [press release] to the senior military leader Than Shwe [Wikipedia profile]. But the anonymous source said a meeting between Suu Kyi and a government official to discuss the terms of her release broke down Friday morning and led the military government to impose another year of detention.

Suu Kyi is a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate [1991 award website] who has been held either in jail or under house arrest [JURIST report] for more than ten of the past 16 years under a broad anti-subversion law [text], which provides for one-year extensions of detentions. She is prohibited from contact with any outside visitors or telephone conversations, other than with her housemaid or doctor. The decision to continue her detention has been denounced by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) [advocacy website], a regional political bloc which itself has been criticized by the US and Europe for not putting enough pressure on the military government to move toward more democratic reform. Reuters has more.

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