Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that her recent release from seven years of detention was not a sign that the military regime is becoming moderate.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Suu Kyi called her detention "illegal" and said there was no other reason for her release other than that the period of her house arrest had ended.
"I don't think you can look at it like that," she said when asked whether her freedom signaled a change from the military's harsh, decades-long rule of the Southeast Asian nation.
The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, set free from her lakeside residence on Saturday, has made it clear she plans to pursue her goal of a democratic Myanmar but has been careful not to verbally challenge the junta or call for its overthrow.
She has called for face-to-face talks with junta leader Gen. Than Shwe to reach national reconciliation.
Suu Kyi has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years but has remained the dominant figure of Myanmar's battered pro-democracy movement.
More than 2,200 political prisoners remain behind bars.
A week before her release, a military-backed political party swept the first elections in 20 years amid widespread accusations that the balloting was rigged.
Final results have yet to be announced, but some military candidates grabbed 90 percent and more of the votes in their constituencies.