Aung San Suu Kyi Seeks Support for Political Prisoners

Posted September 20th, 2012 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi is urging human-rights activists to work to end the plight of political prisoners.

The opposition leader told members of the Amnesty International rights group and other supporters in Washington that hatred and fear often prompt officials to detain individuals with different viewpoints.

“Prisoners become prisoners out of the fear of others. Those who fear, the others who fear that they will be troubled. That these prisoners are people who will challenge them.”

The Nobel laureate spent 14 years in detention under Burma's former military rulers, and is on a 17-day U.S. visit that marks her first trip to America since being freed from house arrest in 2010.

On Wednesday, Aung San Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony attended by leading lawmakers in Washington. The democracy leader thanked America for its support of Burma's democratic movement while under harsh military rule.

She also met with President Barack Obama for the first time. After private talks at the White House, the 67-year-old called it “one of the most moving days” of her life.

Part of her U.S. visit overlaps with next week's visit by President Thein Sein, who will address the U.N. General Assembly.

Other stops on her visit include the states of California, New York and Indiana. Fort Wayne, Indiana is home to one of the country's largest Burmese-American communities.