June 11, 2008 / 5:32 AM / 11 years ago

Myanmar junta says Suu Kyi deserves to be flogged

A protester from Myanmar's National League for Democracy holds a portrait of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally demanding the release of Suu Kyi near the Myanmar Embassy in Seoul June 3, 2008. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar’s military junta said on Wednesday that detained opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi deserved to be beaten like an errant child for threatening national security.

Seeking to justify the 62-year-old’s latest stretch of house arrest, now in its sixth year, official newspapers said Suu Kyi and other detainees had been in contact with and had received cash from rebel guerrillas and foreign governments.

“Due to the crimes they have committed, they well deserve flogging punishment as in the case of naughty children,” the papers said in Burmese and English-language editorials thought to reflect the thinking of the junta’s top brass. The editorials added that the government was behaving like the “parent of the people” and exercising “great patience”.

It detained Suu Kyi and others “in order that they will not be in a position to commit similar crimes again”, they said.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won more than 80 percent of seats in a 1990 election, only to be denied power by a military that has ruled the former Burma since a 1962 coup.

As the daughter of independence hero Aung San, she exercises enormous personal political clout in the nation of 57 million. It is largely out of fear of this that the ruling generals have kept her in some form of detention for nearly 13 of the last 19 years.

The newspaper commentaries also sought to explain the specific security law under which Suu Kyi is being held, but they failed to clarify whether the extension of her detention order on May 27 was for six or 12 months.

The papers also cited Singapore, Malaysia and the United States as countries which had laws to “prevent those who pose danger to the state”.

Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Alex Richardson

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