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UN Envoy to Investigate Aung San Suu Kyi Hunger Strike Rumor - 2003-09-04


The special United Nations envoy to Burma is planning a trip there to investigate a U.S. claim that jailed democracy figure Aung San Suu Kyi is on a hunger strike.

Media reports from the region say Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail has expressed a desire to visit Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and see for himself whether she is refusing food to protest her 14 weeks in military detention.

Even members of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy have not been able to verify the claim. Washington stands behind it, but Rangoon says it is a lie.

Burma's ruling generals took the opposition leader into what they call protective custody May 30th, after government supporters had a violent altercation with her associates during a political tour. She is isolated in a secret place, and Burmese officials refuse to say when they will release her.

In a statement Thursday, the military government said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is physically well and living in satisfactory conditions.

It is not clear when Mr. Razali will go to Burma or whether he will be permitted to visit the Nobel peace laureate.

Meanwhile, a U.S. senator has joined the United Nations and human rights groups worldwide in calling on the military government to free Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement released Wednesday, Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican from the state of Kentucky, said her detention and that of her fellow democrats continues to be of grave concern to the U.S. Congress.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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