UN envoy presses for Suu Kyi's release

A special UN envoy held talks with the Burmese military regime yesterday, but did not receive permission to see the Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is being held incommunicado in Rangoon, despite international pressure for her release.

"I am still making my case," the envoy, Razali Ismail, said after meeting General Khin Nyunt, the Burmese intelligence chief. Ms Suu Kyi is in "protective custody" after a riot on 30 May, but exiled activists suggest she was beaten up, and the junta may be stalling until her bruises heal.

Eyewitnesses say men dressed as monks halted her convoy outside Depayin. As five trucks pulled up to box in the motorcade, attackers emerged from the woods, waving clubs.

Soldiers fired into the crowd, and a brick went through the window of Suu Kyi's car, cuttingher face and shoulder. The opposition leader was also hit with staves.

The attack lasted two hours, and left at least 70 dead. Women supporters were stripped and abused, and riot police took away 18 activists.

The government says the violence erupted when the motorcade ploughed into a crowd of 5,000 rival government supporters, leaving four dead and 50 injured. It insists Ms Suu Kyi is unhurt.

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