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Thursday, May 21

NZ doubts fair trial for Aung San Suu Kyi

New Zealand doubts that Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will get a fair trial, and continues to call for her immediate release, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said today.

Last week, Mr McCully condemned the arrest of the Burmese opposition leader, who has been under home detention for many years, and is now standing trial for alleged breaches of detention conditions.

"Despite widespread international condemnation, and calls for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the regime is continuing with its trial," Mr McCully said.

"Opening the court up to foreign diplomatic observers and journalists does not make it any more legitimate, nor will it lessen international criticism. In fact several observers have already said they see little evidence that Aung San Suu Kyi is receiving a fair trial.

"Even Burma's closest neighbours have expressed grave concern about recent developments, with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying the trial had put Burma's "honor and credibility" at stake."The Burmese government needs to listen to the international community, end the trial, and free Aung San Suu Kyi.

"New Zealand will continue to speak out on this issue. At a regional meeting in Thailand earlier this week we voiced concerns again, and called on the Burmese regime to make genuine efforts to restore democracy," Mr McCully said.