13 Nov 2010

Myanmar generals 'sign Suu Kyi release order'

8:59 pm on 13 November 2010

Military authorities in Myanmar are reported to have authorised the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel laureate has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years, and her house arrest term expires on Saturday. There has, however, been no official confirmation of a release order.

About 2000 supporters gathered at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Friday, where a leader eventually told them to go home and return on Saturday.

Ms Suu Kyi is not expected to accept a conditional release if it excludes her from political activity, the BBC reports.

She was originally due to be released last year, but a case involving an American who swam across a lake to her home prompted the latest 18-month detention.

The BBC says a number of sources inside Myanmar say that documents authorising Ms Suu Kyi's release have been signed.

The news follows the country's first elections in 20 years. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party has already claimed an overwhelming victory, although no official results have been released.

The vote was widely criticised as neither free nor fair; opposition groups inside the country say it was rigged against them.