David Beckham adds voice to calls for Suu Kyi's release

May 19, 2009 (DVB), British footballing legend David Beckham has added his name to a list of celebrities calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, as international pressure mounts on the Burmese junta on the second day of her trial.

American-based charity foundation, Not On Our Watch, issued a statement supported by over 40 celebrities last week demanding the release of Suu Kyi.

The charity was set up by a group of celebrities, including George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Suu Kyi is being held on charges of breaching conditions of her house arrest following the intrusion of US citizen John Yettaw into her compound early this month.

If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison.

David Beckham, who enjoys significant popularity across Southeast Asia, including Burma, signed the petition on Sunday. He joins the likes of Madonna, Robert de Niro, and Scarlett Johansson.

"We must not stand by as she is silenced once again," the group said in a statement released on Friday.

"Now is the time for the United Nations and the entire international community to speak clearly, and with one voice: Free Aung San Suu Kyi."

Meanwhile, protests took place in around 20 countries yesterday to coincide with the opening day of her trial.

Burmese nationals demonstrating outside the Burmese embassy in Canberra, Australia, said they would send letters directly to the head of the Burmese junta.

"We are trying to send protest letters demanding the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and denouncing the military government," said an official from the Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, Dr Aye Kyaw.

"They dare not accept the letter. Therefore, we will send the letters directly to General Than Shwe on behalf of all the people of Burma."

Other protests took place in the UK, Sweden, France and the US, as well as the Philippines and Thailand.

Reporting by Francis Wade and Naw Noreen

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