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Aung San Suu Kyi is an opposition leader in her home country of Myanmar and the winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace.
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Her sentence was then renewed yearly, and the international community came to her aid each time, calling continually for her release (to no avail).
In May of 2009, just before she was set to be released from house arrest, Suu Kyi was arrested yet again, this time charged with an actual crime—allowing an intruder to spend two nights at her home, a violation of her terms of house arrest. The intruder, an American named John Yettaw, had swum to her house to warn her after having a vision of an attempt on her life. He was also subsequently imprisoned, returning to the United States in August 2009.
That same year, the United Nations declared that Suu Kyi's detention was illegal, under Myanmar law. In August, however, Suu Kyi went to trial, and was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. The sentence was reduced to 18 months, however, and she was allowed to serve it as a continuation of her house arrest. Those within Myanmar and the concerned international community believed that the ruling was simply brought down to prevent Suu Kyi from participating in the multiparty parliamentary elections scheduled for the following year (the first since 1990). These fears were realized when a series of new election laws were put in place in March 2010: One law prohibited convicted criminals from participating in elections, and another barred anyone married to a foreign national from running for office (Suu Kyi's husband was English).
In support of Suu Kyi, the NLD refused to re-register the party under these new laws and was disbanded. The government parties ran virtually unopposed in the 2010 election and easily won a vast majority of legislative seats, with charges of fraud following in their wake. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest six days after the election.
In November 2011, the NLD announced that it would re-register as a political party, and in January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to run for a seat in parliament. On April 1, 2012, following a grueling and exhausting campaign, the NLD announced that Suu Kyi had won her election. A news broadcast on state-run MRTV confirmed her victory, and on May 2, 2012, Suu Kyi took her oath and took office.
In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. She has also received the Rafto prize (1990), the International Simón Bolívar Prize (1992) and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award (1993), among other accolades.
In December 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 400–0 to award Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal, and in May 2008, U.S. President George Bush signed the vote into law, making Suu Kyi the first person in American history to receive the prize while imprisoned.
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