Mar 24, 2009 (DVB), A United Nations body has for the first time ruled that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's detention is illegal under both Burmese domestic law and international law.
The leader of opposition party National League for Democracy has been under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years.
This is the fifth time that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that her detention violates international law, but the first time that it has stated it contravenes the regime's own law. It is rare for a UN body to accuse a state of violating its own law.
"The Working Group request the Government to immediately release, without any condition, Ms. Aung San Su Kyi from her continued placement under house arrest," said a UNWGAD statement.
Since May 2003, Aung San Suu Kyi has been consecutively been put under house arrest by the ruling State Peace and Development Council on an annual basis.
"No warrant or decision was presented to Ms Aung San Suu Kyi," said the statement.
"No reasons were given to given to her for the extension of her house arrest, and she has not been charged with any offence."
Jared Genser, the Washington-based legal counsel to Daw Suu and President of Freedom Now, said:
"Previously, the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, ASEAN, European Union and United States have all called for Ms Suu Kyi's release.
"The only question remaining is how long will Burma's bold-faced defiance of the international community be tolerated?"
Reporting by Francis Wade