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Pro-Democracy Activist Suu Kyi Freed from House Arrest

File photo. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONDON) -- Activist Aung Sang Suu Kyi has been freed from house arrest, ending one of the longest detentions of a high-profile, pro-democracy figure since Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Suu Kyi -- who has been in prison or living under house arrest for 15 of the last 21 years -- waved and smiled at a crowd gathered outside her home on Saturday. Her release follows the latest election in Myanmar, which was widely seen as fraudulent and which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) boycotted due to a range of violations.

The daughter of the founder of modern Burma, Suu Kyi was first jailed after rallying thousands of supporters in 1989, for an election which NLD later won. However, the ruling junta refused to recognize the election results.

“While the Burmese regime has gone to extraordinary lengths to isolate and silence Aung San Suu Kyi,” President Obama said in a statement, “she has continued her brave fight for democracy, peace, and change in Burma.”

“She is a hero of mine and a source of inspiration for all who work to advance basic human rights in Burma and around the world,” he said.

Over the years, she has occasionally been offered freedom in exchange for banishment exile, but she refused, even when her husband was dying in England.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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