OSLO, Norway (AP) Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader who has been detained since 1989 for trying to non-violently topple her country's military junta, won the Nobel Peace Prize today.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded the $1 million prize, commended Suu Kyi for "one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades."
Suu Kyi, 46, (pronounced Ahn Sahn Soo Chee) was placed under house arrest July 20, 1989, following a 10-month campaign in which she pressed for democracy and condemned human rights abuses by the military junta.
Her party, the National League for Democracy, won 80 percent of the seats in May 1990 elections, but the junta ignored the election results and stepped up persecution of political opponents and ethnic minorities.
The committee cited Suu Kyi "for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights, and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means."
It was not known if Suu Kyi knew she had won the peace prize. She is not allowed to receive visitors or communicate with the rest of the world.
Suu Kyi is married to British professor Michael Aris, now a visiting professor at Harvard University, and is the mother of two sons, Alexander, 18, and Kim, 14. Both sons are at school in England.
Aris said today that he called his sons from Cambridge, Mass., to tell them of the award. He said their reaction was "the same as mine -- great pride and great joy -- but continuing apprehension ++ and sadness that we cannot share this with her."
"It was circumstances and fate which brought her to the front of the battle for human rights and democracy," Aris said in an
interview. "There are many sides to my wife. The principal side, which we see now, is her extraordinary commitment."
Aris said he last saw his wife of nearly 20 years at Christmas in 1989.