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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Burmese report met with skepticism

Norwegians who long have sought freedom for Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi greeted news of her pending release from house arrest with cautious optimism and a large degree of skepticism.

French news service AFP reported this week that Burma’s military junta would release Aung San Suu Kyi one week after the election they plan to hold on November 7. She won the last democratic election in 1990, a victory that so embarrassed the ruling junta and threatened their power that they invalidated the election and have kept her in custody for 15 of the past 20 years. She already has been disqualified from running in the upcoming election, which many international observers view as a ploy by the junta to improve their image.

Kjell Magne Bondevik, a former Norwegian prime minister who has been an advocate of Aung San Suu Kyi for years, told newspaper Aftenposten that he was “positive” about the AFP report, but had reservations, as do other advocates of democracy in Burma.

“We have experienced that the junta earlier has extended her house arrest,” Bondevik said. “We must wait to see if she will in fact be released.” He also noted that even if she’s released, it’s unclear whether she’ll be allowed to be politically active.

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