SA welcomes release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pretoria - The South African Government has welcomed the release of the pro-democracy Burma leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The noted political figure of Myanmar and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi, was freed on Saturday evening after serving 18 months under house arrest at her residence in Yangon.

"We hope her release opens space for the release of many more political prisoners and the unbanning of many other activists and that they will be afforded an opportunity to partake in the political life of their country," said the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Saul Molobi.

The release of Aung San Suu Kyi, 65, comes six days after Myanmar held a multi-party general election on 7 November.

A verdict of the Home Ministry, read by Police Chief Brigadier-General Khin Yi, said Aung San Suu Kyi was given total amnesty without grudge.

Khin Yi greeted Suu Kyi on her release, saying he hoped to see a peaceful and stable future for the country - which Aung San Suu Kyi echoed.

Suu Kyi's two female housemates, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, have also also freed from the same 18 months' suspended sentence.

Suu Kyi's NLD won the country's elections in 1990 but she was never allowed to assume power.

In August last year, Suu Kyi was sentenced by a district court to three years' rigorous term for allegedly violating her terms of house arrest. She was believed to have accommodated a US citizen, John William Yettaw, who swam across the Inya Lake in Yangon and sneaked into to her lakeside house for three days in May when she was under restriction.

The sentence was then commuted half and the remainder was suspended by the ruling State Peace and Development Council by putting her under 18 months of house restriction which expired on Saturday.