Mon 29 Nov 2004
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Yangon: Myanmar’s detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has had her period of house arrest extended by another year, her opposition party and security officials said on Monday.
“We have heard the news that her tenure has been extended by another one year but we have not been officially informed about it,” said National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman U Lwin.
However, the extension was confirmed by junta officials responsible for her security.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the party, has been held since May 2003 by the military junta following a clash between her supporters and a pro-junta mob.
A group of low-ranking civil servants went to her home in Yangon on Saturday to tell her about the extension, according to an NLD source.
Security remained tight around her home on Monday and barriers remained in place on the main road to her villa.
The extension to her third term of house arrest comes two days after the ruling military announced that it had released more than 9,000 prisoners from its jails in the week from November 19.
However, activists expressed disappointment that they included only an estimated 40 political dissidents.
“It is very clear that they have no intention of releasing her at this point,” according to a Yangon-based political analyst.
The junta used the State Protection Act — a law intended to crack down against dissidents — to keep her under house arrest for another year, according to NLD officials.
Asked if the move meant she was likely to stay in detention for the next year, U Lwin told AFP: “It’s up to them. They can come up with the orders any time and revoke them if they like.”
The detention of Aung San Suu Kyi — a Nobel Peace Prize winner — has prompted international condemnation and sanctions that have further isolated the regime.
The military leadership criticised the opposition in a commentary carried in state media on Monday accusing it of intransigence.
“If all political parties give priority to national interests but not to their own… fruitful results will be achieved,” according to the commentary in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s first period of house arrest started in 1989, just a year after she founded the NLD, and lasted for six years after generals were alarmed by the support she was gathering across the country.
She led the NLD to the landslide victory in 1990 national polls from her confinement but the military, which took control of the country in 1962, refused to accept the result and continued to rule.
She was detained for a second time in 2000 and was released in triumph in May 2002 but growing tensions saw her back under house arrest only a year later after the attack on her convoy.
Her deputy Tin Oo is also under house arrest but there was no immediate indication of any extension to his time in detention.