Opposition Chief ‘Needs Medical Care’

U.S. officials call for medical access to a Burmese opposition leader who is ill and under house arrest.

2009-05-11
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Suu-Kyi-305.jpg Aung San Suu Kyi during a meeting with Burma’s labor minister, Jan. 30, 2008.
AFP

WASHINGTON—The United States urged Burmese authorities on Monday to allow detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi immediate access to medical care and to her personal lawyer, after reports the junta has detained her doctor.

“The U.S. government is concerned about reports that Aung San Suu Kyi needs medical care and that the Burmese authorities have detained her primary personal physician, Dr. Tin Myo Win,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

“We urge the Burmese regime to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to receive immediate medical care from a doctor. We further call on the regime to permit Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with her personal attorney immediately,” Kelly said.

He also called for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi—a Nobel peace laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD)—as well as of the more than 2,000 political prisoners in Burma.

Denied adequate care

Rights groups have accused Burma’s junta of denying Aung San Suu Kyi adequate medical care after her personal doctor, Tin Myo Win, was detained for questioning last week.

Authorities allowed a doctor to make a follow-up visit to the detained opposition leader on Monday after she was found last week to be suffering from dehydration and low blood pressure.

NLD officials said Dr. Pyone Moe Ei was granted a medical visit Monday afternoon, and and spent about five hours there.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky and a longtime supporter of the Burmese opposition, also called for immediate medical access to the NLD leader.

“It is important for the international community to press for Suu Kyi’s unconditional release.  We also need to continue to call for an end to attacks against ethnic minorities,” McConnell said in a statement, referring to the junta’s long-running conflict with ethnic minority insurgencies.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 63, whose party won 1990 elections but was denied power by Burma’s military, which has ruled Burma for more than four decades, has been detained for more than 13 of the past 19 years—mostly incommunicado at her lakeside compound.

Original reporting by RFA’s Burmese service. Burmese service director: Nancy Shwe. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Written for the Web in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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