Nov 6 (Reuters) - Aung San Suu Kyi, the figurehead of Myanmar’s fight against military dictatorship, is scheduled to be released from house arrest on Nov. 13, six days after the country’s first election in two decades.
Here are some facts about Suu Kyi, who went from being an English country housewife to an Nobel peace laureate incarcerated for 15 of the last 21 years because of her fight for democracy in the former Burma.
— Born in Rangoon (now Yangon) in June 1945, she is daughter of General Aung San, an independence hero assassinated in 1947. Her mother, Khin Kyi, was also a prominent figure.
— She studied politics in New Delhi and philosophy, politics and economics at Britain’s Oxford University. In 1972 she married British academic Michael Aris.
— Suu Kyi returned to Yangon in April 1988 to take care of her dying mother at a time of countrywide pro-democracy protests against the army regime. Keen to continue her father’s legacy, she entered politics and became secretary-general of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
— The junta placed the charismatic and popular Suu Kyi under house arrest in July 1989 for “endangering the state”. Even without her, the NLD won 392 of 485 parliamentary seats in Myanmar’s first election in almost 30 years. The military refused to relinquish power.
— Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has been in prison or under house arrest off and on since 1989. She was found guilty on Aug. 11, 2009, of breaking a security law by allowing American intruder John Yettaw to stay at her lakeside home for two nights. Critics said the charges were trumped up to prevent her from having any influence over the 2010 polls.
— She has since made several offers to the ruling junta to lobby the international community to lift a wide range of sanctions on the country, most of which have been in place for more than two decades. Junta strongman Than Shwe never responded and the regime described her move as “insincere” and “dishonest”.
— Suu Kyi’s NLD party has boycotted the polls and has since been dissolved. She has expressed contempt at a breakaway NLD faction that set up a new party to contest the election.
— Suu Kyi’s inclusion on the list of eligible voters for the Nov. 7 poll came as a huge surprise. It was assumed her detention meant she could not cast a ballot since the constitution bars “persons serving prison terms”. It is not known if her house arrest would have prevented her from being a candidate. Suu Kyi has said she would not cast her ballot.
Compiled by Bangkok Newsroom; Editing by Jason Szep