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Suu Kyi's former assistant released from prison in Myanmar

From Kocha Olarn, CNN
  • Authorities released Win Htien from prison Thursday
  • The former assistant to Suu Kyi has spent more than 20 years behind bars
  • Pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi has been under repeated house arrest for years

(CNN) -- A former aide to detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from a prison in northern Myanmar after spending more than 20 years behind bars, officials said Friday.

Former assistant Win Htien was released Thursday, a spokesman for Suu Kyi's political party said.

The country's military government previously briefly released him in 2008, when officials gave amnesty to more than 2,000 prisoners to participate in the general election, National League for Democracy political party spokesman Nyan Win said. But authorities imprisoned him again on the charge of giving out false information.

He was jailed three times from 1989 to 2010, cumulatively spending more than 20 years behind bars, said Tate Naing, secretary for a Thailand-based nongovernmental organization assisting political prisoners and exiles from Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, has been imprisoned or under house arrest repeatedly since 1990, when her party, the National League for Democracy, won a landslide election victory in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.

The military junta who rules Myanmar never recognized the results. The junta recently passed a law that made her ineligible to stand in the upcoming election because she had a court conviction.

She has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest in Myanmar.

CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.