Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Suu Kyi Refuses to Accept Food: Exiled NLD

The Irrawaddy News - Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi refused to accept a food delivery to her home one week ago, according to the exiled National League for Democracy-Liberated Area. It isn’t clear if she has started a hunger strike.

The exiled group released a statement on Monday saying that Suu Kyi has refused to accept food from members of her party for nine days.

However, the NLD headquarters in Rangoon has yet to confirm the news. Nyan Win, a spokesperson for the NLD, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the party was trying to confirm the report.

Suu Kyi told an NLD member, Myint Soe, who regularly delivers her food not to bring any more after the middle of this month, according to her family lawyer, Kyi Win, who was allowed to meet her twice on August 8 and 17 to discuss legal issues surrounding her continued detention.

One senior NLD member in Rangoon also said that Suu Kyi had a plan to “cut food supplies” unless her demands to meet her lawyer for further discussions were met by the military authorities.

Suu Kyi was concerned with restrictions imposed on her by the regime, the lawyer told The Irrawaddy over the phone from Rangoon on Monday.

The lawyer explained that under restriction (a), Suu Kyi is not allowed to meet and hold talks with diplomats or political organizations. Under restriction (b), she is not allowed to leave her house.

Under these restrictions, Suu Kyi could not, according to the regime’s own rules, meet Gambari or any visiting UN envoys. Kyi Win said that the way the UN officials called her to come out of her house with a loudspeaker would have forced her to violate the restrictions.

Two of Gambari’s aides shouted with a bullhorn in front of Suu Kyi’s house that the envoy wanted to meet her last Friday, the last scheduled day of his sixth visit to Burma for national reconciliation talks between the regime and the NLD. Gambari later added a day to his trip.

Observers said that Suu Kyi’s refusal to meet the UN envoy last week showed her disappointment with his failed attempts to broker a solution to the country’s decades-old political standoff.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years. During most of this time, her food has been supplied exclusively by her colleagues.

In 2003, soon after Suu Kyi’s motorcade was attacked by junta-backed thugs in Upper Burma, the US State Department said that she had started a hunger strike.

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