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Myanmar ends Suu Kyi house arrest, keeps her detained: party

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News @ AsiaOne

Myanmar ends Suu Kyi house arrest, keeps her detained: party

Tue, May 26, 2009

YANGON, May 26, 2009 (AFP) – Myanmar officially ended Aung San Suu Kyi’s six-year house arrest Tuesday – but she remains in jail facing charges over an incident in which a US man swam to her house, her party said.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy (NLD), said a senior policeman gave Aung San Suu Kyi papers notifying her that the restriction orders keeping her at her lakeside home had been lifted.

But he said her supporters “don’t know whether we should be happy or sad” since she is currently held at Yangon’s notorious Insein prison facing a five-year jail term on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest.

“Police Brigadier General Myint Thein came to the prison and read out an order cancelling the continued restriction order, released and dated today. They gave one copy to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” Nyan Win told reporters.

“It means that she is free from detention” under the relevant section of Myanmar’s draconian Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements, he said.

Her lawyers had argued that her six years under house arrest were due to expire Wednesday, and pointed to a UN panel’s ruling that her house arrest was already illegal under both Myanmar and international law.

Myint Thein, the police official, had told reporters and diplomats just hours before the order was lifted that the military regime had the legal right to keep Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for another six months.

“We don’t know whether we should be happy or sad, because she is still in detention on these charges. I cannot guess the verdict but according to the law she should be completely free,” Nyan Win said.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest since the military junta refused to recognise the NLD’s landslide victory in the country’s last elections, in 1990.

She was charged on May 14 with violating the terms of her house arrest by assisting American man John Yettaw, who swam to her house under cover of darkness and spent two nights there.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm

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