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Suu Kyi moved to house arrest

Published : 17 Apr 2024 10:30 PM

Myanmar's junta has moved jailed democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from prison to house arrest, a source told AFP on Wednesday.

Separately, a spokesman for the country's military authorities said older prisoners were being given "necessary care" during a spell of hot weather, and it was not immediately clear whether the move was temporary or a represented a reduction in the 78-year-old Nobel laureate's sentence.

Irrawaddy in its online portal adds: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has largely been hidden from view since the military detained her as they seized power in a 2021 coup, and she has reportedly suffered health problems.

A military source speaking on condition of anonymity said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and former president U Win Myint had been moved from prison to house arrest.

The junta also announced on Wednesday that 3,300 prisoners would be freed as part of a regular amnesty to mark the country’s new year festival.

It was not immediately clear whether Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s move was temporary or represented an official reduction in her sentence.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said that a spell of hot weather had prompted authorities to take measures to protect vulnerable detainees.

“Not only Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint but also some old prisoners were given necessary care because of very hot weather,” Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

Health problems

Local media reported that during her months-long trial, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had suffered dizzy spells, vomiting and at times had been unable to eat because of a tooth infection.

Her son Kim Aris told AFP in February that she was still being held at a specially constructed compound in the military-built capital Naypyitaw.

The compound had no air conditioning in the searing heat and the concrete cells leaked during the monsoon, according to Australian economist Sean Turnell, a former advisor to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government who was detained there for months.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi spent about 15 years under house arrest at her family’s colonial-era lakeside mansion in the commercial hub Yangon after she shot to fame during huge demonstrations against the then-junta in 1988.

Wednesday’s prisoner amnesty includes 13 Indonesians and 15 Sri Lankans who will be deported, the junta said.

Remaining prisoners will have their sentences cut by one-sixth, the junta said in a statement, except for those convicted of serious offenses, including murder, terrorism and drugs charges.

Myanmar’s military ousted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government in a coup in February 2021, ending the country’s 10-year experiment with democracy after decades of army rule.

The coup triggered a huge outpouring of public opposition, which the military attempted to crush with force, unleashing a spiraling conflict that has left more than 4,800 civilians dead.

The army is now struggling to maintain its grip on the country in the face of resistance from civilian anti-junta fighters and long-established ethnic minority armed groups.