From Prison to House Arrest: Aung San Suu Kyi’s Ongoing Struggle
Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh by boat in 2021. Pic: Reuters

From Prison to House Arrest: Aung San Suu Kyi’s Ongoing Struggle

From Prison to House Arrest: Aung San Suu Kyi’s Ongoing Struggle

Myanmar former leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been relocated from prison to house arrest, as confirmed by the country’s military government.

Ms Suu Kyi’s administration was ousted by a military coup in 2021, and she has been held in detention since then, facing a 27-year sentence for various charges including treason, bribery, and breaching telecommunications laws.

Junta spokesperson Major General Zaw Min Tun cited the extreme heat as the reason for the transfer of the 78-year-old.

He remarked in statements relayed by four media outlets, “The move is not exclusive to Aung San Suu Kyi… We are taking precautions for all individuals, particularly elderly prisoners, to shield them from heat-related illnesses.”

Ms Suu Kyi’s son, Kim Aris, residing in the UK, informed Sky News that his mother had been incarcerated in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw for the past three years and speculated that her location had possibly changed.

In February, he disclosed that his mother was enduring solitary confinement and her health had deteriorated compared to previous times, albeit her spirits remained high.

Responding to reports of his mother’s relocation to house arrest, Mr. Aris told Sky News, “It’s difficult to say it gives me hope… I am hopeful that her conditions have improved – from what I understand, her previous conditions were quite dire. I hope wherever she is now, she’s in a more comfortable situation.”

He expressed skepticism regarding the military’s motives for the transfer, suggesting, “By relocating her to an undisclosed location in the capital, they may well be attempting to use her as a shield.”

Mr. Aris noted that the lack of transparency regarding his mother’s whereabouts could potentially deter armed resistance groups from targeting government sites, fearing inadvertent harm to her.

A spokesperson for the NUG shadow government urged for the release of Ms. Suu Kyi and Win Myint, Myanmar’s deposed president, also under house arrest.

NUG spokesperson Kyaw Zaw emphasized, “While moving them from prisons to homes is positive, homes are preferable to prisons. Nonetheless, they must be unconditionally freed… The health and security of Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint are paramount.”

Aung San Suu Kyi was once viewed as a beacon of hope for human rights globally. Following a prolonged struggle against Myanmar’s military junta and years of house arrest, she emerged to contest the first openly contested election in 25 years in 2015, winning by a landslide.

Assuming the role of Myanmar’s state counselor, akin to a prime minister, she pledged to diminish the military’s political influence, encourage foreign investment, and address the plight of Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority.

However, her failure to condemn the military’s crackdown on Rohingya in 2017 tarnished her international reputation. Institutions rescinded awards bestowed upon her, citing her inaction. Despite facing charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice, she defended the military’s actions.

In November 2020, she secured another electoral victory but was detained by the military in February 2021 in a coup that sparked nationwide protests and led to civil unrest.

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