UN calls for Suu Kyi's release

GENEVA: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday called on Myanmar authorities to immediately release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

A resolution adopted by consensus by the 47 state members of the Human Rights Council expressed "deep concern" at the recent sentencing of Suu Kyi to further house arrest and called for her "immediate and unconditional release."

It also asked the ruling junta to free political prisoners in order for them to participate in the 2010 elections.

The ruling junta should "engage in a real open dialogue and national reconciliation" in order to "create favourable conditions and to hold democratic elections that are inexclusive, transparent and credible," added the resolution.

A Myanmar court Friday rejected an appeal by Aung San Suu Kyi against the 18-month extension of her house arrest, just days after the US re-engaged with the country's ruling junta.

Suu Kyi's extended house arrest will keep her off the scene for elections promised by the regime for 2010, adding to widespread criticism that the polls are a sham designed to legitimise the junta's grip on power.