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Deploring Myanmar verdict, Ban urges immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi

11 August 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today deplored the decision by a Myanmar court to sentence pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional 18 months of house arrest, and urged that she be released immediately.

“The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed by the verdict in respect of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “The Secretary-General strongly deplores this decision.”

Ms. Suu Kyi, who leads the National League for Democracy (NLD), was reportedly convicted of violating state security laws after an uninvited United States citizen gained access to her home. She has already spent over 12 years under house arrest.

Mr. Ban urged the Government to “immediately and unconditionally” release Ms. Suu Kyi and to engage with her without delay as an essential partner in the process of national dialogue and reconciliation.

“Unless she and all other political prisoners in Myanmar are released and allowed to participate in free and fair elections, the credibility of the political process will remain in doubt,” today's statement added.

The Government had refused Mr. Ban's request to meet with Ms. Suu Kyi when he visited the South-East Asian nation in July, losing what the UN chief called a “unique opportunity” to show its commitment to a new era of political openness.

He added that allowing the visit “would have been an important symbol of the Government's willingness to embark on the kind of meaningful engagement that will be essential if the elections in 2010 are to be seen as credible.”

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