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UN rights experts call for fairness and openness in Suu Kyi trial

[JURIST] Five UN officials on Tuesday decried the manner in which Myanmar has conducted [press release] the trial of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers [official website] Leandro Despouy said that the trial "has been marred by flagrant violations of substantive and procedural rights." Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression[official website] Frank La Rue objected to the secretive nature of the trial, saying that both Myanmar and foreign media should have access to the proceedings. All five leaders, considered experts in human rights, concluded that Suu Kyi must be released from her house arrest sentence, reiterating an earlier opinion by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] that the continued restriction of Suu Kyi to her home after May 2008 is contrary to Myanmar law [opinion, PDF]. Suu Kyi's trial is scheduled to resume [JURIST report] on June 26.

Suu Kyi was put on trial in mid-May for violating the terms of her house arrest [JURIST report], which she has been under for 12 of the last 18 years. News of Suu Kyi's trial has been met with criticism from numerous agencies and governments around the world. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called the charges [HRW report] against Suu Kyi, "trumped up." Soon after the trial began, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand released a statement through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations calling for the immediate release of Suu Kyi [statement, PDF]. US President Barack Obama has made a similar call for Suu Kyi's release [statement].

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