Myanmar 'preparing' to free Suu Kyi

Officials say preparations are under way to release Myanmar's detained opposition leader.

    The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent most of the last two decades locked up [EPA]

    Speculation is growing that Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's detained opposition leader, will be released later this week, when her latest period of detention is due to end.

    "We haven't got any instruction from superiors for her release yet. But we are preparing security plans for November 13," a government official told the news agency AFP on condition of anonymity on Wednesday.

    Another official, who also did not want to be named, said: "We don't have the order yet. It will be at the last minute."

    Meanwhile, her lawyer said Suu Kyi will not accept any conditions on her freedom if the military government releases her.

    "Aung San Suu Kyi must be released on or before November 13 because it is the day when the house arrest on her expires," Nyan Win, her lawyer who is also a spokesman for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), told Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

    "The release must also be unconditional because she will not accept a limited release. As we all know, she never accepted limited freedom in the past," he said.

    First vote in decades

    Suu Kyi voiced opposition to Sunday's elections, the first to be held in Myanmar's in 20 years.

    The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) appears certain to win an overwhelming majority of seats, despite widespread popular opposition to 48 years of military rule.

    Suu Kyi has called on her loyalists to expose electoral fraud, her lawyer said.

    Suu Kyi's detention was extended by 18 months in August last year over an incident in which an American swam uninvited to her lakeside home, where she is under house arrest, keeping her off the scene for the election.

    Lawyers of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has spent most of the past two decades locked up, say the current period of detention started with her imprisonment on May 14 last year.

    Thai officials said on Wednesday that 20,000 refugees had returned to Myanmar after crossing the border into Thailand following the outbreak of fighting between ethnic minority rebels and government
    forces a day after the poll.

    The state-run New Light of Myanmar said three civilians were killed and 20 injured, blaming "terrorists".
    It said one police officer was killed and four soldiers wounded in a separate border clash.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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