Washington (dpa) - The United States on Monday said extending the detention of Burmese democratic activist Aung San Suu Kyi was a step in the "wrong direction" by Myanmar's military junta and called for her immediate release.
"The United States deplores the extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Suu Kyi was jailed in May 2003 after an attack on her convoy by militants supported by the regime. The Nobel peace laureate was later transferred to house arrest.
"The regime has failed to charge Aung San Suu Kyi with any criminal offence, instead making the incredible assertion that she is being held for her own protection," McCormack said.
"The extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention is yet another step in the wrong direction by Burma's military leaders," he added.
Myanmar's rulers ordered Suu Kyi to remain under house arrest for at least another six months after her detention period expired on Sunday.
The 60-year-old democracy activist has spent most of the past 16 years in prison or under house arrest, since first being detained in 1989. The United States toughened sanctions on Myanmar in 2003 after her arrest.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Monday he was "deeply disappointed" by the extension of her custody.
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