Writer and NLD Leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Taken to Prison
International PEN is outraged by the charges of “subversion” brought against writer, National League for Democracy (NLD) leader, and Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for allegedly breaching the conditions of her house arrest. She was taken from her Yangon home on the morning of May 14, 2009, where she has been held for most of the past 19 years, to Insein Prison. Earlier this month, Aung San Suu Kyi was treated for dehydration and low blood pressure. Although her condition is said to have improved, concerns for her well-being are now mounting. PEN protests her detention, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release alongside all others detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to PEN’s information, Aung San Suu Kyi was taken from her home, where she was being held under house arrest, to the notorious Insein Prison in Yangon early in the morning of May 14, 2009. Suu Kyi and two members of her house staff have been detained under Section 22 of the State Protection Law for “subversion” following an incident in which a U.S. citizen reportedly swam across the lake to her home and in doing so violated the ban on her meeting with anyone without prior permission.
Aung San Suu Kyi is due to stand trial on May 18, 2009. She could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Burma’s independence hero General Aung San, became leader of the National League for Democracy in September 1988, and in 1991 led the NLD to a landslide election victory. This victory has never been recognized by the military government. Prior to this, Suu Kyi had lived in the UK for many years, where she raised two sons with her late husband, British academic Michael Aris, who died in March 1999 of cancer. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent a large part of the past 18 years in detention in Yangon, much of it in solitary confinement. She was held under de facto house arrest for six years from July 1989 until July 1995, and again from September 2000 until May 2002. She was released in 2002 as part of UN-brokered confidential talks between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the NLD, which began in October 2000. Her most recent detention began when she was taken into “protective custody” following violent clashes between her supporters and those of the government on May 30, 2003. She has since been held under renewable one-year detention orders.
Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1991. She is the author of many books, including Freedom From Fear (1991), Letters from Burma (1997), and The Voice of Hope (1997).
PEN protests the detention of writer and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is being held in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We call upon the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to show its commitment to political dialogue in Myanmar by securing the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all others detained in Myanmar for the peaceful expression of their views.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the detention of opposition leader and writer Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- Expressing concerns for her health, and seeking immediate assurances of her well-being.
Send Your Letter To
Senior General Than Shwe
Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
c/o Ministry of Defense
Union of Myanmar
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Myanmar in your country asking them to forward it to the authorities and welcoming any comments.
Volunteers may consider writing letters to their national newspapers expressing alarm at events in Burma, and highlighting Aung San Suu Kyi’s case to illustrate the many years of repression in the country.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after May 27, 2009: ftw[at]pen.org