By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
RANGOON — Burma's junta has rejected an appeal to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose most recent period of detention will expire May 27, her party spokesman said Tuesday.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has spent more than 13 of the last 19 years—including the past six—under house arrest in Rangoon despite international pressure for her release.
Burma has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a nationwide pro-democracy uprising. It held elections in 1990 but refused to honor the results after Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory.
National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win said the country's military authorities summoned the assistant to Suu Kyi's lawyer to the administrative capital of Naypyidaw last Friday and handed over a letter rejecting the appeal for her release.
Nyan Win said the letter stated that "grounds for her appeal were not strong enough."
"The rejection is not fair because the appeal was not given a proper and full hearing," he said.
Suu Kyi's lawyer, Kyi Win, in October last year filed an appeal with the military government against her detention based on nine reasons, including one asserting that "she was never a threat to the security of the state."
The 1975 anti-subversion law under which she has been confined without trial says detentions of up to five years at a time are permissible for those who could be a threat to public order.
Her house arrest was extended by one year in May last year, an apparent violation of a law that stipulates that no one can be held longer than five years without being released or put on trial.
However, a commentary in the state-owned New Light of Myanmar newspaper last June said detentions were permissible for as long as six years.
The commentary said yearly extensions must be approved by the Council of Ministers and then by the Central Body, which includes the home, defense and foreign affairs ministers.
Nyan Win said he is still hopeful Suu Kyi will be freed later this month when her six-year detention expires, although there were no indications that she would be released.