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Aung San Suu Kyi to be Free Women
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Reports are coming out of Burma saying the military authorities have signed an order authorising 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 been increased police activity outside her house in Rangoon, but as yet no official confirmation.

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

She was originally due to be released last year, but a case involving an American who swam across Inya Lake to her home, claiming he was on a mission to save her, prompted the latest 18-month detention.

'Significant impact'

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Bangkok says a number of sources inside Burma have told the BBC that documents authorising Ms Suu Kyi's release have been signed.

There has been increased police activity outside her home in University Avenue in Rangoon, Burma's biggest city.

Her supporters, who have been publicly counting down the days to the end of her current term of house arrest, have been gathering at the headquarters of her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in anticipation of her release.

"There is no law to hold her for another day. Her detention period expires on Saturday and she will be released," her lawyer, Nyan Win, told reporters. "They should release her for the country."

Earlier this week, he said Ms Suu Kyi would "not accept a limited release".

"[It] must be unconditional. As we all know, she never accepted limited freedom in the past," he added.

Nyan Win said she would meet with the NLD's central committee, members of the media and the public once she was freed.

The British ambassador to Burma, Andrew Heyn, has told the BBC that the UK and EU are pressing hard for Ms Suu Kyi's unconditional release, and that her freedom would have a "significant impact".

Boycott

The increasing speculation that the ruling generals may sanction her release follows the country's first elections in 20 years on Sunday.

On Thursday, state media announced that partial results showed that the biggest military-backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), had secured a majority in both houses of parliament.

The USDP had won 190 of the 219 seats so far declared in the 330-seat lower House of Representatives, and 95 of 107 seats in the 168-seat upper House of Nationalities, the reports said.

Those elected included the leader of the USDP, Prime Minister Thein Sein, who retired from the military as a general in April to stand.

The junta has said the election marks the transition from military rule to a civilian democracy, but the opposition, many Western governments and human rights groups have said the election was neither free nor fair.

The NLD - which won the last election in 1990 but was never allowed to take power - was ordered to dissolve after refusing to take part.

A quarter of seats in the two new chambers of parliament will be reserved for the military. Any constitutional change will require a majority of more than 75% - meaning that the military will retain a casting vote

Source: bbc.co.uk
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