The outside world has had its first direct word from Aung San Suu Kyi in more than two years. The next week could mean everything or nothing for the imprisoned democratic leader of Burma. The Burmese junta’s surprise decision to grant a senior United Nations official access to the 1991 Nobel peace laureate has revived hope she may be released.
This week, the generals who crushed Ms Suu Kyi’s democracy movement will decide whether to extend her house arrest beyond its present term, which expires on Saturday. That day will mark the 16th anniversary of her overwhelming election victory. The military dictatorship ignored that and she has spent 10 of the past 17 years imprisoned.
Ibrahim Gambari, the Under Secretary of the United Nations, became the first person from outside the secretive and oppressive state, to see one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, since March of 2004. She is in virtual solitary confinement and in the absence of contact with the outside world rumours arose that Ms Suu Kyi, now 60, is slowly being poisoned.