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Myanmar's Suu Kyi could return home after verdicts, junta chief says

FILE PHOTO: Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attends Invest Myanmar in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

Myanmar's junta chief said on Friday he would consider allowing deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be moved to house arrest from prison but only after verdicts in a litany of cases against her have been reached.    

Suu Kyi, ousted in a widely condemned military coup last year, was moved to a jail in the capital Naypyitaw in June where she is being held in solitary confinement, the army said. The Nobel laureate and democracy champion, 77, has spent around half of the last three decades under house arrest.

Since the coup, Suu Kyi has been charged with at least 18 offences ranging from graft to election violations, and has already been sentenced to several years' jail. She has called the accusations absurd and denies all charges against her.    

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing's written remarks, read out on state television, came in response to a request made by a top U.N. official who visited Myanmar this week and asked for Suu Kyi to be allowed to return home.    

"I will consider the matter...after the verdict is done," he said in the statement. "We did not impose strong charges on her and showed mercy even though we were able to do more."    

Suu Kyi, the daughter of Myanmar's independence hero, was first put under house arrest in 1989 after huge protests against decades of military rule. In 1991, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy but was only fully released from house arrest in 2010.

(Reporting by Reuters staff; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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