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Nobel laureates urge Myanmar to free Suu Kyi

Twelve Nobel Peace Prize winners urged Myanmar's military government to immediately release the pro-democracy leader.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 12:41 IST

Twelve Nobel Peace Prize winners on Saturday urged Myanmar's military government to immediately release pro-democracy leader and fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and hold free and fair elections.

Myanmar's military junta last month extended Suu Kyi's detention for a fourth straight year. Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has spent more than 10 of the last 17 years in detention, mostly under house arrest.

The junta took power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy movement. In 1990, it refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in general elections.

"We, the Nobel Peace Laureates ... believe that the political and physical freedom of our colleague Madame Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma must be guaranteed," the laureates said in a special statement of solidarity issued at their annual meeting in the South Korean city of Gwangju.

Myanmar is also known as Burma.

The laureates -- including former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev -- also expressed their support for Suu Kyi who is struggling to bring democracy to her homeland.

The military government has faced global condemnation for its poor human rights record and failure to hand over power to a democratically elected government.

First Published: Jun 17, 2006 12:41 IST