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Myanmar detention of democracy advocate against international law: UN rights body

[JURIST] Myanmar's extended detention of democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi [advocacy website; BBC profile] violates the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights [texts], the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] ruled in an opinion [PDF] released Thursday. The condemning ruling follows the the military government of Myanmar's May 25 extension of Suu Kyi's house arrest [JURIST report] for the fifth straight year. Jared Genser [official profile], Suu Kyi's US lawyer and president of Freedom Now [advocacy website; statement] told AFP that "we are gratified [that] the UN has reaffirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in violation of international law" and added that the ruling was significant because it found that the military government's claims that Suu Kyi had been trying to overthrow the government was "completely unsubstantiated."

Last Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he "regrets" Myanmar's decision [statement] and is determined to continue working to restore democracy in the country. Prior to the announcement of Suu Kyi's house arrest extension, the US State Department [statement], UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [statement; JURIST report], 59 former heads of state [press release] and local activists [JURIST report] urged Suu Kyi's release. Suu Kyi has spent 11 of the past 17 years in prison or under house arrest for alleged violations of an anti-subversion law [text]. AFP has more.

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