Burma Campaign UK today expressed caution following reports that Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s democracy movement, could be released after the elections.
An unnamed official has reportedly told the AFP news agency that her release will happen after the elections. According to Burmese law, Aung San Suu Kyi should be released on November 13th. The United Nations has repeatedly ruled that her detention breaks international law.
“We hope this report is correct, but regime officials have said similar things in the past and Aung San Suu Kyi has remained in detention,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “We’ll believe it when we see it.”
Aung San Suu Kyi is currently serving her third period of detention since 1989. On October 24th she will have spent a total of 15 years in detention.
“Even if Aung San Suu Kyi is released, it would be wrong to attach too much political significance to the release,” said Mark Farmaner. “She has been released twice before without there being any political change in the country. It is more likely that the dictatorship will try to use her release to attempt to persuade the international community to relax pressure on them. However, the number of political prisoners has almost doubled in the past three years. If they release all or the majority of political prisoners along with Aung San Suu Kyi, then this could be the start of something with broader political significance.”