The apex court in the military-controlled Myanmar has allowed the celebrated democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to submit a “special appeal” for her unconditional release from house arrest in Yangon.
No date has been set for arguments on the admissibility of the petition, which can open the last window of opportunity to seek her release before the junta-promised elections later this year, according to her lawyers.
Nyan Win, her political associate and lawyer, said from Yangon on Thursday the petition was based on Ms. Suu Kyi's innocence and the prosecution's failure to produce good evidence during the trial last year. She was found “guilty” of violating the mandatory restrictions during her pervious term of house arrest. Upon her being sentenced to rigorous imprisonment, the junta changed that to a new term of house arrest.
Ms. Suu Kyi's current house arrest, which bars her from being a member or leader of a political party, has compelled her National League for Democracy (NLD) to opt out of the junta-promised polls. The “undemocratic” 2008 Constitution, which would serve as the framework for these polls, was another reason that the NLD cited for its refusal to participate in them.
Reacting to the NLD's boycott, the junta, which styles itself the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), said: “If the NLD wants to amend the  Constitution, it should run for the election.… Its decision to stay away from the election will only lead to confrontation.”
On the recent talks between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Myanmar's Ministers, the SPDC said: “The Political Parties Registration Law … states that any one serving prison term shall not be … a party member. But this provision does not say that anyone who has completed his prison term shall not become a party member.
The Election Law states that anyone serving prison term shall not have the right to stand for election.
There is criticism that the provision aims [at] a particular person [Ms. Suu Kyi]. This provision is not a new one. It is in accord with Myanmar norms as well as international norms.”
The SPDC also quoted the chairman of the new election panel as telling Mr. Campbell that “international watchdog groups do not need to come here” for poll-monitoring.