News24

Sir Paul joins Suu Kyi fight

2009-06-19 14:31

Bangkok - Beatles legend Paul McCartney and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono added messages to a website on Friday calling for the release of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on her 64th birthday.

The pair posted on the 64 for Aung San Suu Kyi campaign site, joining other famous names including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

"Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration to her country and the rest of the world," McCartney's message said.

"I truly admire her infallible resolve and her determination to stand up for what she believes in. It is vital that Aung San Suu Kyi is released so that she can govern the people who elected her and give Burma back the freedom we all take for granted."

"Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi now!" Ono's message said simply.

Released doves

Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's only Nobel Peace Prize winner still in detention, spent her birthday in Yangon's Insein Prison, where she is being held during her trial over an incident in which an American man swam to her home.

Her political party said it had brought her food, a birthday cake and flowers, which she would share with guards at the jail. Hundreds of her supporters released doves and prayed for her release at their headquarters in the city.

Another celebrity to add a message to the website on Friday was British author Salman Rushdie - whose birthday is also on June 19.

"On this day, my birthday and yours, I always remember your long ordeal and silently applaud your endurance," he wrote.

There was also a video message by lawmakers from countries in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which counts Myanmar as a member and rarely criticises the country.

English footballer David Beckham, Irish rocker Bono, Clooney and Roberts all earlier signed a letter on the site, which ends: "Now is the time for the international community to speak with one voice: Free Aung San Suu Kyi."

British premier Brown's video message on the site says that the international community "must do all we can to make this birthday the last you spend without your freedom."

The military rulers of the country formerly known as Burma have kept Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for 13 of the last 19 years since refusing to recognise her party's victory in elections in 1990.

The United States and European Union both called for her release in separate statements on Friday.