Suu Kyi's brother lodges house complaint

Dec 23, 2009 (DVB), Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's proposal to renovate her Rangoon house-cum-prison has been met with resistance from her estranged brother, who claims part-ownership.

The legal representative for Aung San Oo yesterday lodged a complaint at the Rangoon city mayoral office against the renovation of the disputed lakeside house where the opposition leader has been kept under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years.

Aung San Oo had urged the mayor to block any renovation work on the house, which was approved by government authorities earlier this month, Suu Kyi's lawyer, Kyi Win said.

An attempt on Monday by Aung San Oo's lawyer, Han Toe, to file the complaint at Rangoon Divisional Court was postponed by judges who said it could conflict with Suu Kyi's ongoing appeal against her house arrest.

Although renovation of the house is prohibited under some existing laws, Kyi Win said that in Suu Kyi's case, the locals authorities had given the go-ahead on security grounds, adding that "the house has really aged and it needs a work of renovation."

The dilapidated white colonial-style building became the focus of international attention in May this year after US citizen John Yettaw swam across Inya lake, and was allegedly sheltered by Suu Kyi, an accusation that triggered her extended house arrest.

Kyi Win said it is likely that Aung San Oo wanted to restart the legal dispute given that Suu Kyi may be close to her release.

The dispute began in 2003 after Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest following the Depayin massacre, in which a government-backed mob beat to death 70 of her supporters.

Kyi Win said however that Aung San Oo had signed an agreement with Suu Kyi after the death of their mother Khin Kyi, in 1988, which allowed Suu Kyi to live in the house indefinitely.

"The agreement, said that she [Suu Kyi] can live in the house as long as she wants and give [Aung San Oo] half of the profit when the house is sold," said Kyi Win, adding that he had requested a meeting with Suu Kyi on 24 December to discuss the dispute.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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