Suu Kyi, Nobel winner, refuses aid as protest

December 01, 1992|By New York Times News Service

LONDON -- The husband of Daw Aung Saw Suu Kyi, the Burmese dissident who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, said yesterday that his wife's life was in growing peril because she was now refusing even her own family's offers of food and material support as a way to protest her continuing detention.

Michael Aris, a British scholar, who met with reporters yesterday in Oxford, said, "I am now very concerned that soon she will have no means at all of sustaining life."

Mr. Aris said he did not have any first-hand knowledge about either the health or medical condition of his 47-year-old wife, whom he last saw in August. He also said he did not know how much, if any, food or money she might still have on hand to sustain herself.

The Burmese authorities have held Mrs. Suu Kyi without trial and under house arrest at her family estate near Yangon, which was formerly Rangoon, since July 1989, as a result of her agitation on behalf of human rights and democracy in Myanmar, formerly Burma.

"My wife has obviously decided to take a very strong stand," Mr. Aris said. "She has concluded that any material support she receives from anyone to support her will only prolong her detention. She sees no point any longer in doing anything that will enable them to hold her illegally."

In Oslo, the Nobel Institute joined Mr. Aris' appeal. Gier Lundestad, the institute's director, told Reuters that Mrs. Suu Kyi appeared to have begun what he called a "sort of a hunger strike" in the hope of bringing increased pressure on the government in Myanmar.

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