MYANMAR: Aung San Suu Kyi, the 78-year-old Nobel laureate detained in Myanmar, is reported to be in declining health.
Despite a request for an independent medical assessment, the country’s military rulers have denied access to an external physician. Instead, she has been attended to by a doctor from the prison department.
According to Reuters, an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday (5 September), Suu Kyi has experienced gum swelling, impaired eating, dizziness, and vomiting.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since early 2021 when the military ousted Suu Kyi’s elected government and initiated a crackdown on dissent, resulting in numerous arrests and casualties.
Suu Kyi is currently facing 27 years of detention for 19 criminal charges, including incitement, election fraud, and corruption. She vehemently denies all allegations and is appealing her convictions.
In July, she was transferred from prison in Naypyitaw to house arrest.
Myanmar’s exiled National Unity Government, established by opponents of military rule and remnants of Suu Kyi’s previous administration, insists that the military junta is responsible for the healthcare and security of political detainees, including Suu Kyi.
Kyaw Zaw, spokesperson for the National Unity Government, called upon the international community to exert pressure on the junta to ensure the well-being of all political detainees, emphasizing Aung San Suu Kyi’s critical condition.
Numerous governments have demanded the unconditional release of Suu Kyi and thousands of other political prisoners. Some, such as the United States, European Union, and Great Britain, have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s military in response to the ongoing crisis.
Concerns mount over Suu Kyi’s health amid denied medical care in Myanmar
Meanwhile, in Britain, fears are intensifying over the well-being of Suu Kyi as military authorities in Myanmar refuse an urgent request for medical assistance.
Her youngest son, Kim Aris, has condemned the “callous and cruel” decision and called on the junta to reverse it.
Suu Kyi, aged 78, has reportedly been suffering from severe gum disease, rendering her unable to eat due to pain. Despite the prison authorities’ recommendation for private medical care, the request has been rejected.
Suu Kyi, imprisoned following the military coup in 2021 that ousted her democratically-elected government, is facing dire health consequences, including bouts of vomiting and dizziness.
According to The Independent, Aris, a British national, insists that denying medical care to a sick prisoner is inhumane.
He urges the authorities to allow his mother to return to her home in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, for treatment.
The international community has expressed outrage over Suu Kyi’s ongoing detention. While she was pardoned in five of the 19 cases she faces, her imprisonment was reduced from 33 to 27 years, effectively a life sentence given her age.
The charges against her are widely regarded as fabricated, aimed at discrediting her and legitimising the military’s takeover while barring her from politics.
Myanmar’s supreme court has declined special appeals in the five pardoned cases, stating that she has already received clemency. Suu Kyi’s legal team continues the appeals process to prove her innocence, including charges related to violating COVID-19 restrictions, walkie-talkie possession, and sedition.
Appeals are also in progress for the remaining 14 cases, even though her legal team faces obstacles, including the inability to meet with Suu Kyi in person since December.
Aris deems his mother’s debilitating health issues and unjust detention “heinous” violations of basic human rights.