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Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi To Remain Detained - 2003-07-06


Burma's official press has published remarks by a high-ranking government official indicating that democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will remain in detention for some time to come.

State-run newspapers Sunday quoted the ruling military's intelligence chief, General Khin Nyunt, as saying that international sanctions imposed to press for the Nobel peace laureate's freedom amount to bullying and a breach of law.

The country's third-ranking leader also said the government must take measures to prevent a recurrence of the 1988 democratic uprising that the military suppressed.

Independent news agencies in the region said observers believe General Khin Nyunt's comments indicate Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi will not be released any time soon.

The published remarks accompanied two opinion pieces criticizing the opposition leader. One commentary, purportedly written by a disenchanted member of the National League for Democracy, says the party chief is hard-headed and prone to rash judgments followed by blind action.

A second article describes her as autocratic, vain and inflexible, saying she was determined to cause trouble during recent political tours around the country.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and several party members were arrested May 30th, after her supporters and pro-government demonstrators clashed in northern Burma. She has been permitted only one outside visitor and has not been allowed to speak publicly.

The government says four people died in the violence, but witnesses estimate the death toll closer to 70. They told Thailand's Senate last week that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's convoy was attacked by a drunken mob of three thousand people brandishing rods, bats and sticks.

Aung San Suu Kyi's detention has sparked an international outcry, and prompted some countries to threaten tough economic sanctions against the already impoverished nation.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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