Myanmar allows detained Suu Kyi to vote at home

May 23rd, 2008 - 5:46 pm ICT by admin  

DPA
Yangon, May 23 (DPA) Myanmar authorities Friday allowed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to cast an “advance vote” at her home, where she has been under house arrest for the past five years, in a national referendum designed to consolidate the military’s power. Suu Kyi voted at home at 11 am, security sources said.

Myanmar staged a national referendum May 10 to approve a new constitution which essentially cements the military’s dominant role in any future elected government.

According to the government’s own count, some 92.4 percent of the people voted in favour of the charter, an outcome few independent observers believe.

The vote was postponed until May 24 (Saturday) in 47 townships hard hit by Cyclone Nargis, which swept over Myanmar’s central coast May 2-3, leaving at least 133,000 people dead or missing, and devastating much of the Irrawaddy Delta and Yangon.

In Yangon, 40 out of 45 township will participate in the postponed referendum Saturday, including the township where Suu Kyi’s family home is located.

The Nobel laureate has been under house arrest since May 30, 2003, after authorities charged her with threatening national security after pro-government thugs attacked her and her followers in Depayin, northern Myanmar, killing 70 Suu Kyi supporters.

Suu Kyi is kept incommunicado in her family home and has been unable to comment publicly on the cyclone devastation or the junta’s response to it.

According to Jared Genser, president of the US-based Freedom Now for Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma ( older name of Myanmar), Suu Kyi will have completed five years under house detention Saturday, which is the legal detention limit for people deemed a “threat to the sovereignty and security of the State and the peace of the people.”

Genser, a US lawyer, has pointed out that under Myanmar’s Article 10 of the State Protection Law 1975, Suu Kyi must be freed by Sunday as her five-year detention period, extended on an annual basis, ends Saturday.

Security sources in Yangon, however, said the decision on whether Suu Kyi’s detention period would be extended would be made May 27.

It is deemed highly unlikely that they will free Suu Kyi at such a sensitive time for the regime.
DPA

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