Suu Kyi set free? Well see.
Aung San Suu Kyi, is arguably the most famous prisoner in the world. She is one of Amnesty International’s longest running prisoners of conscience and an iconic inspiration to people across the world, who has come to symbolise the struggle for freedom in Burma.
She is due to be released tomorrow. Having spent a whopping 15 of the last 21 years imprisoned, in the dilapidated house she inherited from her mother on University Road in Rangoon. Cause for celebration, you might think. You would be right. Of course we would be delighted to witness her grossly unfair, extensive cruel and illegal imprisonment come to an end. Of course we would be ecstatic if she were able to be reunited with her sons after two decades apart, of course we will join the NLD supporters in rejoicing that the leader of their party is no longer forced to spend every hour of her days and nights cooped up in a crumbling home, silenced by the ruling military junta who fear her popularity so much.
But, it would not be enough. As Niall Couper said to the Guardian, as part of their live coverage just moments ago, the world must not be fooled by this move. This is not a watershed moment in which the new government has made a sincere concession -reaffirming their commitment to democracy and human rights. Far from it. There are more than 2,200 other political prisoners still languishing behind bars and Aung San Suu Kyi herself has been at pains to assert that she is just one of them. We also do not know how likely she is to be allowed to go free, or how long she will remain at liberty. After all, new laws introduced earlier in the year, stated that there would be a 20 year sentence given to anyone who called for a boycott of the elections, of whom Aung San Suu Kyi, was clearly the most vocal and influential. Sadly we have been here before, and her lawyer announced this week that she would be unable to accept any conditions placed on her freedom. With this in mind, our celebration is marred with caution and continued concern for Burma’s other political prisoners. Here in the press office we are gearing up for a hectic weekend of media interviews about all of our concerns. I only hope she is able to do the same.
Until all freedoms of association, assembly and expression are granted and honored, how free is she?
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.