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Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi transferred from her cell to house arrest

The former head of the deposed Burmese government Aung San Suu Kyi wasé transferred from his prison cell to a supervised residence, indicated a military source &agrav; AFP on Wednesday, the ruling junta having announcedé measures to protect vulnerable detainees in the face of heat wave.

78-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, a 1991 Nobel laureate, is serving a 27-year sentence for a string of criminal convictions ranging from corruption to flouting Covid restrictions.

She has been largely hidden from the public eye since her arrest by the military during their coup takeover in 2021, seen only once in grainy state media photos taken in a courtroom in Naypyidaw, the capital, and was facing health problems according to the local press.

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi transferred from her cell to house arrest

Relatives of detainees in front of Insein prison in Rangoon, Burma, April 17, 2024 © AFP – STR

A military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said former President Win Myint, also imprisoned, had also been placed under house arrest.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said a heatwave had prompted authorities to take measures to protect vulnerable detainees.

“Not only Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint, but also elderly prisoners received the necessary care due to the extreme heat,” Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

The temperature in the capital, where Aung San Suu Kyi is believed to be held in a specially built compound, was expected to reach 41°C on Wednesday, with even hotter weather forecast for the following days.

– Health problems –

It could not immediately be determined whether the decision regarding Aung San Suu Kyi was temporary or represented a formal reduction or adjustment to her sentence.

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi transferred from her cell to house arrest

Aung San Suu Kyi and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (l), in the garden of the Burmese opponent's residence, in Rangoon, December 2, 2011 © POOL – SAUL LOEB

Local media reported that during her months-long trial, Ms Suu Kyi suffered dizziness, vomiting and was at times unable to eat due to an infection dental.

Her son Kim Aris told AFP in February that she was still being held in a prison complex in Naypyidaw, the military-built capital.

A complex that lacked air conditioning during hot spells, with concrete walls that oozed water during the monsoon, was reported last year to AFP Sean Turnell, incarcerated there for several months.

The confinement in this isolated capital contrasts sharply with the years that Aung San Suu Kyi spent under house arrest under the previous junta, where she became a leading figure of democracy known around the world.

During this period, she had lived in the family's colonial-era mansion in central Rangoon, having become known during large protests against the junta of the time in 1988.

Aung San Suu Kyi remains very popular in Burma, even though her international image has been tarnished by her power-sharing agreement with the generals and her inability to defend the persecuted Muslim minority of the Rohingya.

The junta also announced in a press release on Wednesday the amnesty of 3,300 prisoners on the occasion of the Burmese New Year.< /p>

Outside Insein Prison in Yangon, some 200 to 300 relatives and friends waited to greet prisoners leaving the complex on buses.

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi transferred from her cell to house arrest

Relatives of detainees await their release from Insein prison in Rangoon, Burma, April 17, 2024 © AFP – STR

The amnesty includes 13 Indonesians and 15 Sri Lankans who will be deported, the junta said.

Other detainees benefit from a reduction of a sixth of their sentence, except those convicted of murder, terrorism and drug trafficking, specifies the press release.

Burma has been in the grip of a rebellion since the The military overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021. But the junta now faces the greatest threat in its history, suffering setbacks and heavy losses in recent months.

The local organization Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) estimates the number of civilians dead since the start of the repression at more than 4,800.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116