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Release Suu Kyi from prison, says ASEAN envoy

Cambodia's deputy PM calls on junta to show compassion and let Nobel peace laureate return home
Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is in solitary confinement in prison

Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is in solitary confinement in prison. (Photo: AFP)

Published: June 27, 2022 08:23 AM GMT
Updated: June 27, 2022 08:23 AM GMT

The special envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has urged Myanmar's military junta to facilitate the return of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi from a prison to her home.

Prak Sokhonn, ASEAN special envoy and deputy prime minister of Cambodia, has conveyed “the deep concern expressed by ASEAN colleagues” regarding reports of the transfer of Suu Kyi from her home to solitary confinement in a jail in remote capital Naypyitaw.

“I have no doubt that the same concern resonates beyond ASEAN, considering that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is regarded internationally and by many in Myanmar as having a critical role in your country’s return to normalcy and national reconciliation through a peaceful political solution,” says the letter sent by Prak Sokhonn to Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Mg Lwin on June 27.

“I would like to echo the voice of our ASEAN colleagues in urging the State Administrative Council of Myanmar to exercise compassion and facilitate the return of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the home where she was originally detained in consideration of her fragile health and well-being as well as fair and judicious practice of the rule of law.”

The Nobel peace laureate, who turns 77 this year, will continue to attend court hearings into several charges including corruption, according to media reports.

Reports citing a junta spokesman said she was moved on June 22 to the main prison in Naypyitaw, where she is being held separately in “well-kept” circumstances.

“The United States strongly denounces the military regime’s use of solitary confinement for Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma must return to the path of democracy"

She was arrested after the military coup on Feb.1, 2021, and held at an undisclosed location in the military-built capital city.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres is very concerned about the latest developments isolating Suu Kyi, which go against UN calls for her release and the release of all other political prisoners.

“The United States strongly denounces the military regime’s use of solitary confinement for Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma must return to the path of democracy,” said Derek Chollet, counselor of the US Department of State.

Prak Sokhonn is visiting the Southeast Asian nation this week for a second time since the non-implementation of ASEAN’s five-point peace plan by military chief Min Aung Hlaing after he agreed to it at a summit in April 2021.

The envoy was not allowed to meet with deposed leader Suu Kyi during a visit in March and it remains unclear whether he will be allowed to meet with her this tme.

Backed by the UN, the US and the European Union, ASEAN has been leading diplomatic efforts to tackle Myanmar’s political crisis but has been ineffective in pressuring the military regime.

Min Aung Hlaing has been barred from attending ASEAN meetings over his failure to implement the five-point consensus, but the junta’s defense minister was allowed to attend the ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting last week despite pleas by rights activists.

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