Burma's Military Leaders Allow Doctor to Visit Ailing Opposition Leader
RANGOON, Burma – Burma's military rulers allowed a doctor to make a follow-up visit to detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the 63-year-old Nobel Peace laureate was found last week to be suffering from dehydration and low blood pressure.
Officials from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party said Dr. Pyone Moe Ei was granted a medical visit Monday afternoon to her lakeside home, where she is under house arrest, and spent about five hours there. They issued an appeal for her to be allowed further treatment for her condition, which was not disclosed.
Suu Kyi's main doctor, Tin Myo Win, was detained for questioning by the authorities last Thursday after an American man was arrested for allegedly sneaking into her closely guarded home early last week.
State-run media said the American confessed that he swam 1 1/4 miles across Inya Lake to Suu Kyi's compound and "secretly entered the house," where he stayed for two days. He was arrested when authorities spotted him swimming back.
Pyone Moe Ei was allowed to see Suu Kyi on Friday and put her on an intravenous drip, but a request for a follow-up visit on Saturday was not granted. She is rarely allowed to leave her compound and her visitors are severely restricted because she is under house arrest.
"We heard that the doctor is allowed to see Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (on Monday). We welcome the doctor's visit and we are happy that Daw Suu is given medical treatment," said Nyan Win, a spokesman for her party. "Daw" is a term of respect used for older women in Burma, which has been renamed Myanmar by the ruling military junta.
Nyan Win last week said Pyone Moe Ei reported that Suu Kyi had not eaten for three or four days.
Asked about Tin Myo Win, the spokesman said, "We still haven't heard anything about the doctor since Thursday and we are very much concerned."
The military government, following standard practice, has not commented on the doctor's detention.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department urged the junta to allow Suu Kyi access to Tin Myo Win. The statement also called for the military to release Suu Kyi and some 2,100 other political prisoners.
Suu Kyi -- who has spent more than 13 of the last 19 years, including the past six, in detention without trial -- is allowed virtually no visitors aside from her doctor.
She is not known to have had any serious medical problems since September 2003, when she was taken from detention to a private hospital for a week for a major operation that doctors said was a gynecological procedure. In November 2006 her doctor conducted an ultrasound examination at her request and announced that the results revealed no gynecological problems.
In June 2006, Suu Kyi suffered from a stomach illness but was treated at home.
She appeared weak after she conducted a month long protest against her poor living conditions in August 2008 by limiting her food intake, and afterward was given an intravenous drip to restore her strength. In October that year, Tin Myo Win brought an eye specialist and dentist to give her a checkup, but no problems were reported.