UN envoy calls for Myanmar releases

Gambari tells Al Jazeera anti-government protesters should not be detained.

Protests against the crackdown in Myanmar continue [AFP]
Protests against the crackdown in Myanmar continue [AFP]
Earlier on Wednesday, Myanmar said it was still searching for protesters who took part in the protests and had detained nearly 3000 people since its crackdown began.

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“Those who led, got involved in and supported the unrest which broke out in September were called in and are being interrogated,” the government’s New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

It said 2,927 people had been arrested since the crackdown started and 468 were still in custody.
“Some are still being called in for questioning and those who should be released will be.”
At least four members of the opposition National League for Democracy, including an 85-year-old man, were reportedly sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison during a secret trial relating to the protests in the western port of Sittwe.
Official media said 10 people were killed when soldiers crushed demonstrations against military rule and price rises, but Western governments say the toll is likely to be much higher.
Regional pressure
Gambari, in Malaysia on the second leg of a regional tour aimed at building support for tougher action against Myanmar, said he hoped to return to the country soon.
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The UN envoy said that he had been invited to Myanmar in mid-November, when he hopes to press the government to open talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the NLD.

Gambari is hoping to exert pressure on the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to do more to bring about democratic changes in Myanmar, which is a member of the bloc.
“We believe all those who have an interest in peace and stability should exercise it. This is why ASEAN is important,” Gambari said.
“We want them to stay engaged,” he said. “What form they want to take, we leave it to them.”
The generals have rebuffed international criticism and say they will “march on” using their seven-point road map to democracy which is supposed to culminate with elections at an unspecified date.

So far, only the plan’s first stage – drawing up guidelines for a new constitution – has been completed, and that took more than a decade.
Critics say the road map is a ruse to allow the military to stay in power.
Gambari’s full interview with 101 East will be broadcast on Thursday
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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