Myanmar: Hopes for Suu Kyi release and reopening of her party offices

Updated On: Sep 10, 2009

The party of Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is hopeful that she will be unconditionally released after a court agreed to hear an appeal against her recent conviction.

Lawyers for the Nobel laureate would focus on the fact that a 1974 constitution under which the 64-year-old was originally detained had been superseded by a new constitution approved last year.

Ms Suu Kyi has challenged last month's guilty verdict for sheltering an American John Yettaw who swam to her lakeside home.

The verdict also sparked international outrage and the imposition of further sanctions against Myanmar's powerful generals, who have already kept Suu Kyi locked up for 14 of the past 20 years.

The regime has ordered her to spend another 18 months under house arrest, softening the original sentence of three years' hard labour. However, the house arrest is still long enough to keep her away from national elections that are scheduled for 2010.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party has called on the ruling junta Tuesday to allow it to reopen its branch offices for the elections.

The National League for Democracy party won by a landslide in the last elections in 1990 but was not allowed by the military to take power. Its offices were closed in 2003 after a pro-junta mob attacked Suu Kyi and her followers as she toured northern Myanmar.

The NLD issued a statement saying the party had sent a letter to junta chairman Senior Gen. Than Shwe on Friday noting that the party is a legally registered organization but that its local offices had been sealed and its activities restricted by the government.

The declaration also asked the military to release all political prisoners, amend undemocratic clauses in the constitution and hold free and fair elections with international supervision.

The government plans the 2010 elections as part of its seven-step "roadmap to democracy," but has yet to introduce a political party registration law or an election law.


Suu Kyi's party hopeful for her release: spokesman, 8 September 2009,


Burmese supporters optimistic over Suu Kyi appeal, 8 September 2009,


Myanmar pro-democracy party wants offices reopened, 8 September 2009,


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