Burma awaits release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Hundreds of supporters of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi have gathered at the headquarters of her political party in Yangon after one of its leaders revealed an order for her release had been signed by the ruling junta.

About 300 people gathered at the headquarters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) as news of her possible release was made public.

Ms Suu Kyi’s house arrest officially ends on Saturday, but rumours have that she might be freed a day earlier have swept the city.

“My sources tell me that the release order has been signed,” said Tin Oo, vice chairman of the NLD party. “I hope she will be released.”

He did, however, not say when she would be freed or when the order had been signed, but her lawyer, Mr Nyan Win, believes her release is imminent.

He added: “There is no law to hold (Ms Suu Kyi) for another day. Her detention period expires on Saturday and she will be released.

Jailed or under house arrest for more than 15 of the last 21 years, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has become a symbol for a struggle to rid the south-east Asian country of decades of military rule.

Her current detention began in May 2003 after her motorcade was ambushed in northern Burma by a government-backed mob. The detention period was extended in August this year when a court convicted her of briefly sheltering an American intruder who came to her house uninvited.

If she is released, Ms Suu Kyi, 65, plans to help her disbanded party probe allegations of election fraud, according Mr Nyan Win, who is also a spokesman for the party.

Meanwhile, state media announced on Thursday that the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party had secured a majority in both houses of parliament.

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