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September 30, 2010

Myanmar to free Suu Kyi days after election: officials


YANGON -- Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will be released just days after Myanmar's first election in two decades, officials said Thursday.

The Nobel Peace laureate, who has been detained for most of the last twenty years since winning the country's last general election, will be freed when her current term of house arrest expires on November 13, the unnamed sources said.

"November will be an important and busy month for us because of the election and because of Aung San Suu Kyi's release," a Myanmar official told AFP, noting the release would come soon after the country's November 7 poll.

A second Myanmar official, who also declined to be named, confirmed the release date, adding "she will be released on that day according to the law".

Neither Suu Kyi nor her National League for Democracy (NLD) party will participate in the first poll since their 1990 victory and the vote has been dismissed as a sham aimed at hiding military power behind a civilian facade.

Suu Kyi was initially sentenced to three years in jail and hard labour last year after a bizarre incident in May in which American John Yettaw swam to her lakeside house.

At first she was held at Myanmar's feared Insein prison but was allowed to return to her crumbling family mansion in August 2009 after her sentence was commuted to one and a half years house arrest by junta leader Than Shwe.

Her lawyer Nyan Win said the period of detention started with her imprisonment on May 14 2009 -- a few days before she was due to be freed from a previous round of confinement.

He said authorities will have to release her in November because "there is no law to extend her house arrest".

"So far we have no plan in advance for her release date. We will do and follow whatever she asks for. We are waiting for that day," Nyan Win added.

Source: AFP

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