Decade of grief ends as son is granted visa to visit Suu Kyi

Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is today poised to enjoy an emotional reunion with one of her sons after the ruling junta granted him a visa for the first time in 10 years. Reports suggest the recently released Nobel laureate will travel to Rangoon's international airport to greet him.

The mother and child reunion has been tantalisingly close for the past three weeks as Ms Suu Kyi's 33-year-old son, Kim Aris, was kept waiting in neighbouring Thailand while his application was considered. He had applied hoping he would be able to meet his mother when she was released from house detention 10 days ago but the process was stalled.

Yesterday, senior members of Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) confirmed that Mr Aris had obtained his visa and was hurrying to arrange a flight from Bangkok to the former Burmese capital. He is expected to arrive in Rangoon this morning. He has got his visa already, one of the NLD leader's lawyers, Nyan Win, told Agence France-Presse.

While Mr Aris was unable to visit his mother in the immediate aftermath of her release, he was able to have what British diplomats in Bangkok said was an emotional telephone conversation with her.

Mr Aris is the younger of two children of Ms Suu Kyi and her late husband Michael Aris, a British academic whom she met while the pair were both studying at Oxford University in the early 1970s. After Ms Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988, first to care for her ailing mother and then to lead the country's emerging democracy campaign, he stayed in Britain to care for their children and to help lobby on her behalf. In 1997, Mr Aris was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer and the Burmese junta repeatedly refused him a visa on the pretext that they did have the medical facilities to care for him.

Ms Suu Kyi faced what she said was one of the most difficult situations of her life. The junta advised her to travel to Britain but she was concerned that if she did the authorities would never allow her to return. She decided to stay in Burma and her husband died without the pair meeting again. Their two sons, Kim and Alexander, 37, have rarely spoken in public about their mother, though Alexander, who lives in the US, accepted the Nobel award on her behalf in 1991 while she was held during an earlier term of detention.

Since her release, Ms Suu Kyi has been meeting advisers and party officials and taking calls from politicians and journalists. She has emphasised her desire to hear directly about the wishes of the Burmese people and has spoken of the need for reconciliation. She has also made clear her intention to continue the struggle for democracy in Burma, something that analysts say will put her on a collision course with the ruling generals.

Observers have said that despite her release much in Burma remains the same and that 2,200 other political prisoners remain behind bars in prisons scattered across the country. Ms Su Kyi is also battling to overturn the official dissolution of her party.

In the run-up to the controversial parliamentary election held earlier this month the junta ruled that parties that did not register to compete would be disbanded. The NLD which voted to boycott the election on the recommendation of its leader has always prided itself on being a legal opposition party.

Yesterday, however, the country's highest court refused to hear a petition from Ms Suu Kyi challenging her party's dissolution. The NLD is now considering whether it can make a special appeal.

Tight censorship rules remain for Burma's local media. Nine weekly news journals that gave considerable coverage to Ms Suu Kyi's release have reportedly been temporarily banned.

Several were suspended after the country's so-called press scrutiny board ruled that special supplements devoted to the NLD leader's release were larger than officially permitted.

Another of the publications, a football magazine called The First Eleven Sports Journal, was banned for two weeks after it printed a headline that read "Sunderland Freeze Chelsea United Stunned By Villa & Arsenal Advance To Grab Their Hope". Shading on selected letters spelled out the far more provocative headline: Su Free. Unite & Advance To Grab The Hope.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading indepen...

Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Systems Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre Scho...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'