Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Elder statesmen call for Suu Kyi's release

LONDON (Reuters) - A group of former world leaders and Nobel peace laureates called on Tuesday for the release of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The group, known as the Elders and founded by South Africa's Nelson Mandela, said their fellow group member Suu Kyi should be freed on Wednesday as her latest 6-year period of house arrest is due to expire.

The group's chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, said Suu Kyi was a symbol of hope for her nation and the world.

"We are moved by her courage and dignity. She shows the same steel as Nelson Mandela, who endured 27 years in prison. Like him, she has right and goodness on her side," he said in a statement released during a meeting of the group in Morocco.

Suu Kyi's trial for violating the terms of her house arrest entered its second week on Monday. The Nobel Peace laureate, 63, had been due for release on Wednesday after 6 years under house arrest, but was re-arrested earlier this month following an uninvited visit to her house by a U.S. citizen.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said: "Aung San Suu Kyi is a hero for those who believe in human rights and democracy."

The Elders, who are meeting in Marrakech, kept an empty chair for Suu Kyi, as is usual at their meetings.


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