November 16, 2010
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has gone on a legal offensive, filing a document with the country’s High Court to have her political party reinstated after the ruling generals disbanded it earlier this year.
Suu Kyi’s trip to the court Tuesday was her first visit downtown since being released from house arrest on Saturday. She had been detained continuously for more than seven years.
Since her release Suu Kyi has shuttled between her lakeside home and the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party. She filed an affidavit with the court as part of an effort to overturn the party’s dissolution.
It was disbanded for failing to reregister after choosing not to take part in a Nov. 7 general election, complaining conditions set by the junta were unfair and undemocratic.
Full results from this month’s elections have yet to be released, but figures so far give the main military-backed party a solid majority in both houses of parliament. Critics complain the vote was rigged.
On Sunday, Suu Kyi told thousands of wildly cheering supporters at her party headquarters she would continue to fight for human rights and the rule of law in the military-controlled nation. She has held meetings with party executives and other members to discuss strategy. In press interviews, she has spoken more of reconciliation than justice.
In an interview posted Tuesday on the Washington Post’s website, Suu Kyi said she would consider recognizing the newly elected parliament — though she has also said she will investigate and expose possible election fraud. She has also said she would like to talk to junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe, with whom she has not spoken since 2002.
“We have got to be able to talk to each other,” Suu Kyi told newspaper. “I think, firstly, we have to start talking affably — real genuine talks, not just have some more tea or this or that.”
Nyan Win, who is Suu Kyi’s lawyer as well as a party spokesman, said Myanmar’s High Court will hold a hearing Thursday to decide whether to accept the case from Suu Kyi arguing her party’s dissolution “is not in accordance with the law.”
He said the new Election Commission has no right to deregister parties that were registered under a different Election Commission in 1990.
As she walked into the courthouse Tuesday, about 20 supporters ran toward her to see her while others waited outside to get a glimpse. Security was light with a dozen plainclothes officers watching the crowd.
Suu Kyi, who has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years, has indicated she would continue with her political activity but hasn’t said whether she would challenge the military with mass rallies and other efforts.
The 65-year-old Nobel Peace laureate must balance the expectations of the country’s pro-democracy movement with the reality that her freedom could be withdrawn any time by the regime.
Although her party is officially dissolved, it has continued operating. But without official recognition, it is in legal limbo, leaving it — and her — vulnerable to government crackdowns.