By Michael O’Reilly, Individuals at Risk Campaign Director
After being detained for 15 of the past 21 years, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be free tomorrow… if Myanmar’s rulers don’t change the rules first.
We’ve been waiting for this day for so long – the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi could be set free tomorrow, November 13. Our anticipation is high, but we’ve also been here many times before.
In fact, Myanmar’s rulers could decide to tack arbitrary conditions on to Suu Kyi’s release that bar her from any and all future political activity. That is, if they decide to release her on this date at all – she could be held until February 2011, depending on when they actually dated the start of her 18-month term of house arrest. No one knows for sure.
Less than a week ago, Myanmar’s military party swept the country’s first elections in more than 20 years amid heavy criticism and allegations of widespread fraud. As a result, thousands are fleeing the region as violence erupts.
The growing tension puts Suu Kyi’s release date even more at risk of falling under the regime’s capricious judgments.
But releasing Aung San Suu Kyi, while still blocking her rights and freedoms, would be a flat-out violation of all laws, rules and basic respect for humanity.
Suu Kyi’s freedom should have never been stolen in the first place. Join me in telling Myanmar’s rulers that Amnesty International is keeping track and according to our records Aung San Suu Kyi’s unconditional release is long overdue.
But we continue to hope because we’ve seen change happen before in places with appalling human rights records.
It was the tenacity of Amnesty International supporters that helped lead to the release of the two American journalists in North Korea. Our vigilance strongly contributed to the release of Musaad Abu Fagr, a blogger in Egypt. And it was our unwavering hope that helped lead to the release of Ma Khin Khin Leh, another one of Myanmar’s more than 2,200 political prisoners.
We can build this fire again for Aung San Suu Kyi, but we need your support now.
We’ve already seen the spark start within many of you, like the nearly 2,000 people who have joined us in our ‘Stand with Suu Kyi‘ photo slideshow.
That’s the kind of light we need for Suu Kyi. That’s the kind of light we need for every last prisoner of conscience in Myanmar.