Myanmar `certain` to release Suu Kyi

Myanmar`s junta is certain to release Aung San Suu Kyi in the next few days, officials said on Friday.

Updated: Nov 12, 2010, 09:27 AM IST

Yangon: Myanmar`s junta is certain to release detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the next few days, officials in the military-ruled country said on Friday, in the wake of a controversial election.

"The authorities will release her. It is certain," said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Lawyers for the 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has spent much of the past two decades locked up, say her current term of house arrest is due to end on Saturday.

"She will be released for sure as planned," said another government official who also declined to be named. "We are just waiting for the time to release her."

Australia has complained to Myanmar after two Australian journalists investigating media freedoms were arrested and deported from the country, days after much-criticised elections, officials said on Friday.

A foreign affairs spokesman said Australia had raised the matter with senior officials in the military-ruled country, claiming it was not informed of the arrests of its citizens, who were working for public broadcaster ABC.

The spokesman said Australia was "concerned" over the arrests, adding that consular officials met the journalists before they were deported on Thursday, and confirmed they were safe and well.

"We have raised the matter at a senior level in Rangoon (Yangon), stressing that, in keeping with the provisions of the Vienna Conventions, we expect the Burmese (Myanmar) authorities to advise the Australian embassy immediately if an Australian citizen is detained by them," he said.

ABC named the two as film-maker Hugh Piper and producer Helen Barrow and said they "apparently" had long-stay visas.

They were preparing a documentary on independent media in Myanmar, whose military junta looks set for a crushing win after Sunday`s polls, the first in 20 years. Western powers have slammed the vote as neither free nor fair.

"There were a couple of guys inside the Myanmar Times newspaper who liaise with the government," Piper said from Bangkok, according to ABC`s website.

"They said you need to now return to your hotel where you`ll be met by various officials from the immigration department who are going to escort you to the airport and expel you.

"We were told it was the wish of the Burmese government."

No reason was given for the arrests, although Piper said it was related to sensitivity about foreign reporting of the election.

A Japanese journalist was also arrested on Sunday and deported on Tuesday from Myanmar, where media is tightly controlled by the government.

PTI