Saying that reports of the early release of Aung San Suu Kyi (photo) from house arrest were incorrect, Myanmar’s military government has denied that she will be freed by the end of the year.
According to Singapore officials, Nyan Win, Myanmar’s foreign minister, said his statement about the country’s opposition leader’s freedom had been misunderstood by his counterparts at the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) meeting.
The clarification came on Tuesday, after Singapore’s foreign minister quoted, Nyan Win as hinting that Aung San Suu Kyi could be released within six months.
On Monday, George Yeo said that he had been told by Myanmar’s foreign minister that, according to law, a political detainee could be held for a maximum of six years, and that the limit was approaching in about “half a year’s time”.
Because they offered a new glimmer of hope for Aung San Suu Kyi’s early freedom, the remarks were widely reported.
But on Tuesday, Mr Yeo was quoted in Singapore’s Straits Times as saying that the six-year period will only be reached in the six months after May 2009, when her latest one-year detention period expires. He was also quoted as saying that Asean ministers had “misunderstood” Nyan Win.
Myanmar’s ruling military announced in May that it was extending Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest for another 12 months.
For most of the 18 years, the Nobel peace laureate has been held under house arrest or in Yangon’s notorious Insein jail.
For not putting enough pressure on Myanmar’s rulers to move toward democracy and free political prisoners, Asean has faced international criticism, especially from the West.