Aung San Suu Kyi, seen here in 2020, has been detained since Myanmar's military seized power in February 2021
Bangkok (Thailand) (AFP) - Myanmar’s junta is endangering the life of jailed democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi, her political party said on Thursday, accusing the military of depriving her of medical care and food.
Suu Kyi has been detained since the generals seized power in February 2021, ending a 10-year democratic experiment and plunging the Southeast Asian country into bloody turmoil.
In recent days, local media have reported the Nobel laureate, 78, was suffering dizzy spells, vomiting and unable to eat because of a tooth infection.
“We are particularly concerned that she is not receiving adequate medical care and they are not providing healthy food nor accommodation sufficiently with the intention to risk her life,” the National League for Democracy said.
“If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s health is not only impaired but her life also is endangered, the military junta is solely responsible,” the statement said, using a Burmese honorific.
During her 19-month trial in a junta court that rights groups denounced as a sham, Suu Kyi regularly skipped hearings on health grounds.
That trial ended last year, with Suu Kyi jailed for a total of 33 years in prison, a term later partially reduced by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.
Suu Kyi’s UK-based son told the BBC last week that the junta was denying treatment to his mother for dizziness and a gum disease, though he is not in direct contact with her.
A junta spokesman told AFP last week that reports of Suu Kyi’s ill health were “rumours”.
“She’s not suffering from anything as her medical doctors are taking care of her health,” Zaw Min Tun said.
- ‘Hostage’ -
Suu Kyi, who remains widely popular in Myanmar, was being held as a “hostage… in secret places”, by the junta, the NLD said.
The party asked the international community to “advance efforts and push” for the release of Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Myanmar.
According to a local monitoring group, more than 24,000 people have been arrested in the junta’s sweeping crackdown since the coup.
In June 2022, after more than a year under house arrest, Suu Kyi was moved to a prison compound in another part of the sprawling, military-built capital Naypyidaw.
There, she was no longer permitted her domestic staff of around 10 people and assigned military-chosen helpers, sources told AFP at the time.
Confinement in the isolated capital is a far cry from the years Suu Kyi spent under house arrest during a previous junta, where she became a world-famous democracy figurehead.
During that period, she lived at her family’s colonial-era lakeside mansion in commercial hub Yangon and regularly gave speeches to crowds on the other side of her garden wall.
The NLD has been decimated in the junta’s bloody crackdown on dissent, with one former lawmaker executed by the junta in the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades.
In March, the junta dissolved the party for failing to re-register under a tough new military-drafted electoral law, removing it from polls it has indicated it may hold in 2025.