Junta frees 2 oppn men from house arrest

Associated Press

Yangon, April 13:

Myanmar’s military government today released two senior opposition figures from house arrest, but pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains in detention at her home, party officials said. They said military intelligence officials came to the homes of National League for Democracy Chairman Aung Shwe and the party’s secretary, U Lwin, to tell them that restrictions on their movements have been lifted. However, the aging leaders have not left their homes, located in different parts of Yangon yet, said an NLD official on condition of anonymity.

A temporary guard post outside U Lwin’s house was deserted this afternoon. However, house arrest restrictions on Suu Kyi, and NLD Vice President Tin Oo, are still in place, said the party officials. The two were arrested in northern Myanmar after a deadly clash between opposition members and a pro-government mob following an attack on their motorcade on May 30. Myanmar’s junta subsequently launched a crackdown on the party, closing its offices and detaining scores of its members. Suu Kyi and Tin Oo were kept in undisclosed locations for several months before being moved to their homes to be placed under house arrest. They were not travelling in the motorcade, but were put under house arrest during the crackdown.

The release of the two men had been expected after the junta last week invited them to attend a May 17 National Convention to draft a new constitution.

The convention is the first step in the junta’s seven-step “road map” to democracy. The NLD, has not said if it will attend or not, saying a decision can be made only after Suu Kyi is released. Suu Kyi and Tin Oo have not been invited to attend the National Convention, apparently on the grounds that only those leaders who had attended the first convention can attend the second. Suu Kyi couldn’t attend the first convention because she was under house arrest.