Asian leaders call for release of Aung San Suu Kyi | Asia Pacific

Asian leaders call for release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Asian leaders call for release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Posted 15 May 2009, 20:40 AEST

The Governments of Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia have joined other world leaders in expressing their deep concern over new charges against Burma's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner is facing five years in gaol on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest after an American man swam to her house. She has spent most 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest imposed by Burma's military junta and is thought to be in poor health. In addition exiled Burmese activists are predicting a backlash inside Burma if Aung San Suu Kyi is convicted.

Presenter: Karon Snowdon

Malaysian foriegn minister Y.B. Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman; Indonesian foriegn ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah

KARON SNOWDON: On Monday, Aung San Suu Kyi will be tried on charges that she breached the rules of her house detention. Her supporters including exiled Burmese in Bangkok, are suspicious of the timing of the charges as her latest detention order was supposed to expire in less than two weeks. They say there could be a backlash inside Burma if the revered democracy leader is convicted. Malaysia's Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman, says the Association of South-East Asian nations or ASEAN of which Burma is a member, must get involved.

ANIFAH AMAN: We're also very concerned over what's happening in Burma, in Myanmar, and we hope to use the ASEAN forum to put forward and to also to discuss further and if it's necessary, upon my arrival in Malaysia, will immediately contact the Secretary-General of ASEAN if it is possible to have a meeting immediately to address the issues which is also of concern to ASEAN members.

KARON SNOWDON: The Minister was speaking in Washington alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has demanded Suu Kyi's immediate release. Radio Australia's late night phone call to the ASEAN Secretary-General, Surin Pitsuwan, who is in the United States, was unsuccessful. The ASEAN Secretariat based in Jakarta said a statement would be coming from Thailand's Government on behalf of ASEAN as it currently holds the revolving ASEAN Chairmanship. Indonesia's Government has taken a stand and is also calling for her release. The Government's statement by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, is repeated here by an actor due to the poor quality of the phone line.

TEUKU FAIZASYAH: We repeat our position that the release of Aung San Suu Kyi is the best option not only for the Myanmar Government but its people. As a government we are not very happy with the detention. We believe due process of law will settle the issues for the benefit of Myanmar people. As to the recent case, we are getting a comprehensive assessment from our mission in Myanmar. We have made our position very clear and we question the holding of the trial for Aung San Suu Kyi.

KARON SNOWDON: The motives of the man, John William Yettaw, who swam across the lake and spent two days in Aung San Suu Kyi's house, despite her attempts to send him away, are unknown. He has also been charged.

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