Paul McCartney and U2 call for Suu Kyi's release

June 19, 2009 (DVB), Paul McCartney, U2 and Yoko Ono have joined the ranks of international celebrities marking the birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi with personal messages of support and renewed calls for her immediate release.

Today the Burmese opposition leader turns 64. It is the fourteenth consecutive year that she has marked her birthday in detention.

Message of support from celebrities and international figures have been published on the 64forsuu.com website.

"Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration to her country and to the rest of the world," said Paul McCartney, while Yoko Ono published a poem that included the lyrics "Your heart beats with my heart. My eyes see what you see. My belief is your belief."

Other celebrities that have supported the 64forsuu campaign include David Beckham, Julia Roberts and Steven Fry.

The renowned Indian musician and conductor Zubin Mehta added his voice to calls for Suu Kyi's release.

"As a proud neighbour of Burma, being an Indian, I am extremely hopeful that the authorities in Burma will not judge Aung San Suu Kyi and will release her as soon as possible on this [sixty-fourth] birthday," he said.

"I know I speak for hundreds of thousands of Indians who say that she is a shining light in our part of the world, and we pray for her quick release."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today called for the toughening of sanctions against Burma.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Brown praised Burma's neighbours for [leading] the world in calling for Ms Suu Kyi’s release", while adding that the UN Security Council should "back the Secretary-General’s efforts to bring about political progress through an early visit to Burma".

Ban Ki-moon was yesterday invited to visit Burma by the country's ruling generals, although he is yet to make a decision due to suspicion that the trip may be used by the junta for propaganda purposes.

Brown also offered his willingness to "extend the hand of friendship" were the military government to "rethink their ways".

Reporting by Francis Wade

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