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Suu Kyi unhurt, to be freed soon

Yangon, June 10 (Reuters): Myanmar’s ruling military said today that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi would soon be freed and a UN envoy who saw her in custody said the Nobel laureate was in good health.

“The safe custody measures instituted are temporary and they will be lifted as soon as the situation returns to normal,” deputy foreign minister Khin Maung Win said in a statement, referring to Suu Kyi’s detention.

UN envoy Razali Ismail said Suu Kyi was in good health and in good spirits, adding that top military leaders had given assurances she would be freed as soon as possible.

International concern has intensified over the health and whereabouts of the pro-democracy activist since violence erupted on May 30 as she was touring a provincial town in the north. The junta has detained Suu Kyi at undisclosed locations since the incident.

Razali met Suu Kyi for an hour at the junta’s headquarters in Yangon at the end of a four-day mission to persuade the military to free her. “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,” Razali said in Singapore hours later. Secretary One is military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt and Maung Aye is the powerful army commander.

Speaking earlier to reporters at Yangon airport, Razali said Suu Kyi had no injuries. “She’s well. She’s in very strong spirits. It’s the person that I’ve always known,” he said. Suu Kyi gave Razali no details on casualties from the clashes in which her supporters said up to 75 people died. “She did not see it all. She was in the front car,” Razali said.

Myanmar’s deputy foreign minister said in the statement that early findings of the investigation showed the violence had been sparked when Suu Kyi’s convoy tried to plough through a crowd of bystanders.

It said four people had been killed and 48 injured in the violence between Suu Kyi’s supporters and pro-government groups, denying reports that dozens had died and hundreds injured. “Allow me to say categorically that allegations that the attack was premeditated are unfounded,” the minister said.

Suu Kyi has spent much of the past 14 years under house arrest and her latest detention has triggered widespread international condemnation of Myanmar’s military rulers.

“The government will have to get her out of protective custody. That also applies to the others,” Razali said, referring to leaders of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy who were also detained.

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