Imprisoned NLD staff 'must not be omitted'

Feb 25, 2010 (DVB)-Detained opposition party members who deserve to be in the party’s central committee must be included, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has announced.

The pledge was made following the release last week of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party deputy, Tin Oo, who had been kept under house arrest since 2003.

His and Suu Kyi’s imprisonment, as well as crippling restrictions placed on the party by the Burmese junta, has led observers to complain that progress by the party has been slow. Around 430 NLD members are currently behind bars.

A recent reshuffling of the senior-level Central Executive Committee (CEC), whose members rank above the central committee, included the addition of younger members to dilute the ageing leadership and was seen as the first step in reinvigorating the NLD.

"A person who deserves to be a [central committee member], even if currently imprisoned, must not be omitted purely because their imprisonment stops them from working," lawyer Nyan Win quoted Suu Kyi as saying.

Lawyers met with Suu Kyi yesterday at her Rangoon house-cum-compound where she has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years.

He added that party members who are carry out valuable social work should also be included in committee dialogue. "The CEC is now working within the boundary of this policy," he said.

The announcement of the formation of the central committee is due to be made tomorrow, NLD spokesman Khin Maung Swe said.

"[Suu Kyi] especially thanked U Tin Oo for carrying out the NLD duties as soon as he was released from house arrest, and she thanked him for talking to the media about his political standing," Nyan Win added.

After being released on 13 February, Tin Oo told reporters that he was "very hopeful" that Suu Kyi would also be released, having had her house arrest extended by 18 months in August last year.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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