Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to reinforce home against new intruders

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to boost security at her house

YANGON, Myanmar — Detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans to repair her dilapidated two-story home to improve security, after an American’s high-profile intrusion led to her house arrest being extended, lawyers said Tuesday.

Suu Kyi wants to reinforce two balconies on the upper floor, which have only glass doors, and meet with an architect to discuss other renovations, said lawyer Nyan Win.

The 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is “very keen to have her house repaired, mainly for security reasons,” Nyan Win said.

American John Yettaw sneaked uninvited into her lakeside compound in May this year, even though she was under house arrest and the home was under round-the-clock police guard.

A Myanmar court found the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate guilty of violating the terms of her detention by sheltering Yettaw for two days. She was sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor, but junta chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe reduced the sentence to 18 months of additional house arrest.

Yettaw received a seven-year sentence, but was deported on Aug. 16 shortly after his conviction for what the government said were humanitarian reasons.

During the trial, Suu Kyi was imprisoned at Myanmar’s notorious Insein Prison.

While she was away, authorities put up barbed wire at the back of her compound to prevent future lakeside entries. A section of University Avenue, where her house is located, is totally blocked by a barbed-wire barricade, with no traffic allowed.

Suu Kyi had minor repairs carried out on the home in her absence and an architect visited to begin evaluations for future renovations, said Nyan Win. Suu Kyi has not yet met with the architect, Nyan Win said, and it was not immediately known if such a visit would be allowed by the junta.

Suu Kyi, who is an avid reader, is also considering changes to the home’s interior such as converting one room into a library and reading room, said Nyan Win.

Suu Kyi and her two female companions returned to her tightly guarded home Aug. 11, the day she was convicted. She has been detained for about 14 of the past 20 years, mostly under house arrest, for her nonviolent promotion of democracy.

The latest 18-month sentence ensures that Suu Kyi cannot participate in elections scheduled for next year. Her party swept elections in 1990 but the results have never been honored by the military, which has ruled the country since 1962.

will not be displayed