Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi to renovate home-cum-prison

Yangon, Aug 31 (DPA) Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans to renovate her lakeside home-cum-prison, where she has spent 14 of the past 20 years under detention, media reports said Monday.

Suu Kyi was last month sentenced to a new term of 18 months under house arrest at her family compound on Inya Lake, after being found guilty of breaking the terms of her detention for allowing US national John William Yettaw to swim, albeit uninvited, to her home May 3.

“Now that her trial is over, Daw (Madame) Aung San Suu Kyi wants to repair her house,” Nyan Win, Suu Kyi’s spokesman, told The Myanmar Times.

“She wants to mount iron grills in the windows,” he said.

No renovation work has been done on the house since Suu Kyi began living there in 1988, when she returned to Myanmar, also called Burma, after spending much of her adulthood in England where she attended Oxford University and married a British professor.

Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar independence hero Aung San.

“She will spend her own money on the renovation,” Nyan Win said.

He added that according to city regulations, property owners must apply for a permit themselves, but given her situation, the permit can be sought by “the authorities who are responsible for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest”.

Authorities erected two fences on the lake side of the compound after Yettaw’s infamous swim.

It was widely believed that Yettaw’s bizarre escapade provided Myanmar’s junta with a pretext to keep Suu Kyi out of the political picture until after a planned general election next year.

Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years in prison, was released less than a week after receiving his verdict at the behest of US Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia who is chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee.