Myanmar police chief denies Suu Kyi hunger strike

Myanmar police chief denies Suu Kyi hunger strike

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar (AFP) — Myanmar’s police chief on Sunday denied detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was on hunger strike after her party said she has been refusing food for three weeks.

Khin Yee told reporters a lawyer and doctor had visited the Nobel peace laureate, who has spent most of the past 19 years under house arrest.

“We allowed lawyer U Kyi Win to visit Daw Suu Kyi three times as she requested, as well as her doctor Tin Myo Win for her medical check-up,” the police chief told a press conference.

“According to their report back to us, we haven’t heard anything about Daw Suu Kyi being on hunger strike in her house,” he said, using an honorific title before her name.

The 63-year-old receives daily rations from the regime and has no other source of food.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) party reported on Friday that she had been refusing those food supplies for the past three weeks but stopped short of claiming she was on hunger strike.

In a statement, the NLD said Aung San Suu Kyi wished only to draw attention to her “unfair” imprisonment and that of her two maids. One of her maids was taken to hospital on Friday night with kidney trouble.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s refusal of food supplies is to denounce her continuing detention…. The National League for Democracy party and the people are extremely worried,” it said.

Aung San Suu Kyi is allowed little contact with the outside world, but in recent weeks has refused even the rare meetings that the junta has offered her.

She has met with her lawyer three times over the last month and had a medical checkup in August, but refused to meet with the junta’s liaison officer this week. Before August, she had not been allowed to see her lawyer since 2004.

She also refused to meet visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari last month, fuelling speculation about her motives, with analysts saying she was trying to express her frustration with the slow pace of the regime’s “dialogue” with her.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in a 1990 election but the junta never allowed it to take office. Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.

The police chief was joined by ministers from the ruling junta for the press conference held in the remote and newly built capital Naypyidaw.

Information Minister Kyaw Hsan told the press conference further meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi were up to her, and insisted the government would cooperate with international efforts to progress talks.

“This matter depends on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” Kyaw Hsan said. “We will also cooperate with the United Nations and Mr Gambari.”

The regime says it is preparing new polls for 2010 under a new constitution, which the NLD says will merely entrench military rule.


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