Germany Urges Burma to Free Political Prisoners | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 29.05.2008
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Germany Urges Burma to Free Political Prisoners

The German government has condemned the decision by Burma's ruling junta to extend the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and called for all political prisoners in the country to be freed.

A girl stands in front of a poster of Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi remains a powerful symbol of peace worldwide

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said on Wednesday, May 28, that Burma, also known as Myanmar, urgently needed reforms. He was referring to the decision by the military regime to extend by six months the house arrest imposed on opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, a move that has triggered international condemnation of her detention.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for the past five years. Since returning to the country in 1988, she has spent 12 years locked away in her home in the city of Yangon.

"We call on the government of Myanmar to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi along with all other political prisoners, to desist from further arrests and to usher in a credible reform process that embraces all groups of society," Jaeger said at a press conference in Berlin.

The decision came just two days after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon left Yangon following a donor conference that generated tens of millions of dollars in aid pledges in response to the cyclone that left 133,000 dead or missing.

Ban said while he regretted the extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention, Burma appeared "to be moving in the right direction" with cyclone relief by allowing some foreign aid workers into the devastated Irrawaddy Delta.

The United Nations estimates that only 40 percent of the people in need have actually received help, and most of those still languishing without emergency supplies are in remote parts of the delta.

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