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Former World Leaders Urge Burma to Free Aung San Suu Kyi

More than 50 former world leaders, including three former U.S. presidents, have called on Burma to free pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a letter to Burma's military leader, General Than Shwe, the signatories appealed for Aung San Suu Kyi's release before her most recent term of house arrest ends on May 27.

The letter was released Monday by the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. It pointed out that the United Nations, the European Union and many other groups from around the world have also demanded Aung San Suu Kyi's release.

Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League of Democracy made a similar appeal Monday. The party won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, but the military never allowed it to take power.

The Nobel laureate has spent most of the past 17 years under house arrest.

Her latest period of detention came after an attack on her convoy by a pro-government mob in May 2003. She was charged with inciting unrest.

Former U.S. presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton signed the letter. Other signatories include former British Prime Ministers John Major and Margaret Thatcher and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.