Myanmar’s junta-controlled Supreme Court approved the sale of the family home of the country’s ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday, approving a petition from her older brother U Aung San Oo to sell the house.
The lakeside villa in Yangon is where Suu Kyi was held under house arrest for 15 years by the previous military regime, but has been the source of a bitter family dispute between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her estranged elder brother for decades. In 2000, while Suu Kyi was under house arrest, U Aung San Oo sued her claiming that the house was his.
A real estate developer said that the villa, which sits on almost two acres of land in Yangon’s most prestigious neighborhood, is currently worth around US$27 million on the open market.
U Aung San Oo’s case was initially thrown out by the courts, but he then filed a new suit, claiming joint ownership of the property. In 2016, a Yangon court ruled that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi owned the two-story building and half of the land, while another building on the property and half of the land belonged to her brother.
In January 2019, U Aung San Oo appealed to the Supreme Court, petitioning for the auction of the residence and a share of the proceeds. His petition was approved by the junta-controlled Supreme Court on Monday, even as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in solitary confinement in Naypyitaw Prison.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer has said that she intends to use the house as the base for the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity founded by her and named after her and her brother’s mother.
The colonial-style house at 54 University Avenue on the shores of Yangon’s Inya Lake is a historic site. Suu Kyi received then US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the house in 2012.
The 1.9-acre-strip of land was given by the then government to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s mother in 1947, following the assassination of her husband, independence hero General Aung San. Daw Khin Kyi lived in the house until her death in 1988.