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Hopes of Suu Kyi's release rise

P.S. Suryanarayana
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No concrete indication yet from junta

Signs of hope: Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy in Yangon on Friday. — Photo: AP
Signs of hope: Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy in Yangon on Friday. — Photo: AP

Hope and anticipation about the possible release of Myanmar's celebrated democracy campaigner, Aung San Suu Kyi, prevailed in Yangon on Friday, according to her associate and spokesman Nyan Win.

Speaking from Yangon, Mr. Nyan Win said Ms. Suu Kyi's current term of house arrest would end by about 7 p.m. on Saturday. However, there was “no concrete indication” from the military rulers that she would be set free by or before that timeline. Though the junta had not contacted her recently-derecognised National League for Democracy (NLD) on this issue, there was also no sign of any fresh “charges” being brought against her.

Over 1,000 NLD activists gathered at the party headquarters in Yangon on Friday after hearing unconfirmed reports that the junta had in fact signed the order for Ms. Suu Kyi's release. They later dispersed, after being asked by party officials to return on Saturday, said Mr. Nyan Win.

A Nobel Peace Laureate and firm believer in Mahatma Gandhi's political principle of non-violence, Ms. Suu Kyi has spent a large part of the past two decades in detention, either under prolonged house arrest or in spells of imprisonment. A few days ago, her final appeal against her current term of house arrest was rejected by the country's apex court.

The NLD, which was led by her to a landslide electoral triumph in 1990, was not allowed by the then military establishment to assume power. And, her present term of house arrest ends within days of a general election that Senior General Than Shwe and his junta held in the face of the NLD's total boycott of the “flawed poll”.

The results of the poll have not been officially announced yet, but the junta-linked Union Solidarity and Development Party has claimed victory.

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