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Burma Dissident To Be Freed

National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi is flanked by security guards as she speaks to a crowd during her weekly talk from her compound in Yangon in this June 1, 1996 file photo. Suu Kyi and 19 members of her National League for Democracy party have been taken into "protective custody" after a fight broke out between her supporters and pro-government protesters in northern Myanmar, an official said Saturday, May 31, 2003. The conflict left four people dead and 50 injured.
AP
A U.N. envoy met Tuesday with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and said Burma's military rulers assured him the Nobel Peace laureate would be released quickly.

Razali Ismail, the first outsider to see Suu Kyi since she was put under detention on May 30, said she was "well and in good spirits," even though she has been held "incommunicado" for nearly two weeks.

Suu Kyi has been kept at a secret location following clashes between her supporters and military backers during a tour of northern Burma that prompted a crackdown on her pro-democracy party. There have been widespread concerns that she may have been injured.

"I can assure you she is well and in good spirits…no injury on the face, arm. No injury. No scratch, nothing," Razali told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Suu Kyi at the Defense Ministry guesthouse in Rangoon, which the government calls Yangon.

The meeting with Suu Kyi was seen as a partial success for Razali's five-day mission to secure her release from the so-called "protective custody."

Razali got permission to see her during talks Monday with Deputy Senior Gen. Maung Aye, the No. 2 general in the junta, and the No. 3, Gen. Khin Nyunt, whose title is Secretary One.

"I have been given clear assurances by both Secretary One and Maung Aye that they will lift the protective custody on her as soon as possible and return her to the situation she was in before," Razali said.

"The government has to let her out if they want to continue with national reconciliation. They can't do it with one party being locked in," he said.

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle for democracy, spent six years under house arrest in 1989-95. Her party won general elections in 1990 but was blocked by the military from taking power.

The government says the clash was sparked when her motorcade tried to plow through thousands of pro-government protesters, and that four people were killed.

But exiled opposition figures in Thailand say pro-junta thugs started the violence, that as many as 70 people were killed and that Suu Kyi may have received head injuries in the clash. The government has said only that she is unhurt and in custody in a "safe place."

The U.S. State Department says the May 30 clash appears to have been an ambush by junta supporters. It says the events suggest the junta has ended efforts at national reconciliation.

Since the clash, offices of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party have been shut and other party leaders are under house arrest.

The Bush administration said it wants Congress to impose more economic sanctions against Burma and was reviewing legislation to prohibit imports from the impoverished country. The United States already bans new investments by U.S. companies.

However, the junta has remained defiant. Khin Nyunt said over the weekend that Burma (which the military dictatorship calls "Myanmar") will continue to strive to become a "peaceful, developed and democratic nation" with or without foreign assistance.

Since the crackdown, Washington has tightened visa restrictions against the Burma regime, to cover all officials of the government-linked social organization, the Union Solidarity Development Association, said to have orchestrated rallies against Suu Kyi.

The restrictions previously barred entry only to senior government officials and their immediate families.