Burma's democracy leader and Nobel Peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been locked up on new trumped up charges, just days before her 13 years of detention was due to expire. She and thousands of fellow monks and students have been imprisoned for bravely challenging the brutal military regime with peaceful calls for democracy.
Risking danger to speak out for their jailed friends, Burmese activists are demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners and calling on the world to help. We have just six days to get a flood of petition signatures to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon calling on him to make their release a top priority -- he can make this a condition of any renewed international engagement. Follow the link to sign the petition, and forward this email on to friends to ensure Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners are freed. Burmese activists will present the global petition to the media on May 26th:
On May 14th, Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested and sent to jail, charged in connection with an American man who allegedly sneaked uninvited into the compound where she is being held in Yangon. The charges are absurd -- it is the Burmese military, now accusing her of breach of house arrest, that are responsible for the security of the compound. It is a pretext to keep her detained until after elections which are set for 2010.
The Burmese regime is renown for its vicious repression of any threat to full military control - thousands are in jail in inhumane conditions and denied any medical care, there are ongoing abuses of human rights, there is violent repression of ethnic groups, and over a million have been forced into refuge across the border.
Aung San Suu Kyi's is the greatest threat to the junta's hold on power. Her moral leadership of the democracy movement and the legacy of her landslide victory in 1990 elections means that she is the only figure who could face down the military in elections next year. She has been detained over and over again since 1988 -- under house arrest and allowed no contact with the outside world. But this scandalous new detention in the notorious Insein Prison without medical care could be very dangerous because she is seriously ill.
Sources say that the military regime is fearful of this unified and massive online call to the UN -- over 160 Burma exile and solidarity groups in 24 countries are participating in the campaign. And the Secretary General and key regional players that are looking to re-engage with the Burmese regime, can influence the fate of these prisoners. Last week Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: 'Aung San Suu Kyi and all those that have a contribution to make to the future of their country must be free'. Let's overwhelm him with a global call to urgently act on his words and stop the arrests and brutality:
As with the release of Nelson Mandela from years of prison in South Africa, the freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi from years of unjust detention, will bring a new beginning to Burma and hope for democracy. This week could be that historical time for change - let's stand united behind Suu Kyi and these brave men and women and demand their release now!