Skip to comments.Aung San Suu Kyi in "notorious" Myanmar jail
Posted on 06/19/2003 4:45:57 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Myanmar's best known democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi is being held "in a two-room hut" at a jail near Yangon, Britain's junior foreign minister for Asia said.
"I am appalled to learn today, on her 58th birthday, Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in the notorious Insein jail on the outskirts of Rangoon (Yangon) in a two-room hut," Mike O'Brien said in a statement.
"I understand that she continues to wear the clothes in which she was arrested," he said.
Aung San Suu Kyi was taken into "protective custody" after May 30 clashes which broke out during a political tour of northern Myanmar, when her supporters were attacked by hundreds of members of a pro-junta organisation.
The ruling generals cracked down on her opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and put its leadership under house arrest. An unknown number of NLD supporters have also been thrown in jail.
O'Brien said: "I have the telephone number of the jail, and am attempting to contact Aung San Suu Kyi. It is totally unacceptable that she should be detained in this manner."
He said he was "particularly disturbed" to hear that Aung San Suu Kyi -- winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle for a democratic Myanmar -- was being held under Section 10(a) of the 1975 State Protection Law.
"This is the most draconian of the Burmese (Myanmar) military regime's laws, which allows for detention without access to family or lawyers for 180 days at a time up to a total of five years, with no prospect of appeal," he said.
"This completely discredits the regime's claim that she is being held in 'protective custody'," he said.
In a statement, John Jackson, director of Burma Campaign UK, a British group that supports democracy in Myanmar, said Insein was "more than a prison. It represents the full apparatus of state repression in Burma."
He said that by invoking Article 10a of the State Protection Law the authorities in Yangon appeared to be planning "the long-term imprisonment" of Aung San Suu Kyi.
"That the regime would do this, despite recent criticism, shows that words alone are not enough to influence this regime," he said, adding that it was time for the UN Security Council to take up the matter and "get tough."
The United States has hardened sanctions against Myanmar in the wake of Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest, while the European Union (news - web sites) widened a visa ban Monday to include the extended families of ministers, deputy ministers and ex-ministers, and senior army staff officers.
Aung San Suu Kyi's father Aung San negotiated the independence of Myanmar, then called Burma, from Britain, but he was assassinated before it took effect in January 1948.
His daughter spent her formative years in Britain, marrying an English scholar before returning in 1988, and becoming involved in opposition to Myanmar's military junta soon afterwards.