Burmese junta extends the house arrest of Suu Kyi by yet another year
Sunday 28 May 2006
About 100 cheering supporters gathered near her house yesterday, hoping to see the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, but dispersed after police told them she had not been freed. A government official said her detention had been extended for one year, despite a direct appeal by the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to the Burmese supremo, General Than Shwe.
Yesterday marked the 16th anniversary of a landslide victory by Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy in a free election. It is also exactly three years since her motorcade was ambushed by government-backed thugs in Depayin.
Optimism had been stirred when the UN's under-secretary for political affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, was allowed to visit Ms Suu Kyi last weekend, the first time she had seen an outsider for two years. But a Western diplomat in Rangoon told The Independent on Sunday that he was unsurprised by the junta's actions. "The problem is that there is no dialogue yet," he said. "Suu Kyi's release needs to be the culmination of any re-engagement efforts, not the start. If she is let go and big crowds come to hear her message, the generals will freak out and the same old cycles will start anew. That's what happened last time."
Ms Suu Kyi's oratory attracted rapturous crowds for a few months in 2002-03, until the generals jailed her again "for her own protection". Last week's manoeuvrings are believed to have been designed to distract from their brutal ethnic cleansing campaign against Karen villagers in the south-east of the country.
The junta has launched its biggest military offensive in years, with an estimated 16,000 people forced to flee from their homes and widespread reports of killings and torture as villages are burned and food stocks destroyed.
Ms Suu Kyi, who turns 61 next month, is accustomed to a solitary life under house arrest. She has been locked away for 10 of the past 17 years by the same generals who crushed the pro-democracy movement in 1988.
More than 1,100 other political prisoners remain locked inside Burma's primitive jails. In the country's spy-ridden cities, anyone heard criticising the authorities can be seized by police and forcibly disappeared.
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...