In 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi was legally elected the leader of Myanmar, then named Burma. But she has spent most of the time since 1989 under some form of detention, including house arrest for the last two years, following a surreptitious attempt on her life by pro-government forces.
From time to time, the military junta that imprisons Suu Kyi promises to release her, but today supporters around the world observe her 60th birthday with no sign of her freedom. Nonetheless, activists around the world are using the occasion to honor the human rights leader and highlight the injustice of her continued detention and the tyrannical regime holding power in her country. (Major birthday events are taking place today in Edinburgh, Bangkok, Manila, San Francisco, and, most courageously, across her small Southeast Asian country.)
Amnesty International has also launched a global petition calling on the Burmese authorities to stop abusing the justice system to silence peaceful political activists and to immediately and unconditionally release Suu Kyi along with the other 1,350 political prisoners estimated to be rotting in Myanmar jails currently.
According to AI's diligent investigations, these detainees include prisoners of conscience incarcerated for activities such as writing poems and publishing magazines, forming student unions or calling for peaceful demonstrations. They are subjected to torture, held incommunicado without access to lawyers, and sentenced under repressive legislation in unfair trials.
Click for background on Myanmar's repression of Suu Kyi and political dissent generally, click here to add your name to AI's global petition calling for her immediate release, and click here to become a member of Amnesty International and support more work on behalf of global human rights.