UN Concerned After Aung San Suu Kyi Placed in Solitary Confinement

Aung San Suu Kyi
Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from house arrest to solitary confinement in a prison compound in the military-built capital Naypyidaw, a junta spokesman said on June 23, 2022. - AFP

Myanmar’s military government has confirmed that ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved to a prison compound in quarters separate from other detainees.

The Star reports that Suu Kyi was arrested on 1 February 2021, when the army seized power from her elected government. She was initially held at her residence in Naypyitaw, the capital, but was later moved to at least one other location.

For most of the past year, she has been held at an undisclosed location in Naypyitaw, generally believed to be on a military base.

Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, spokesperson for the ruling military council, confirmed in a text message to journalists that Suu Kyi was moved on Wednesday to the main prison in Naypyitaw, where she is being held separately in “well-kept” circumstances.

News of her transfer had been reported Wednesday but not officially confirmed.

He said Suu Kyi, having already been convicted in several cases, was transferred to the prison in accordance with the law.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “very concerned” about the latest developments isolating Suu Kyi, which go against U.N. calls for her release and the release of all other political prisoners, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, adding “we are concerned for her state.”

A legal official familiar with Suu Kyi’s court proceedings said she is being held in a newly constructed building with three policewomen, whose duty is to assist her. Her ongoing trials will also be held at the prison, in another newly constructed facility. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release any information about her cases.

Suu Kyi, who turned 77 on Sunday, spent about 15 years in detention under a previous military government, but virtually all of it was under house arrest at her family home in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.

The secret location where she had been held for most of the past year was a residence. She had nine people to help her there, and was allowed to keep a dog that was a gift arranged by one of her sons, said another legal official, who also asked not to be named for fear or repercussions from the government.

The official said neither her assistants nor the dog accompanied Suu Kyi to her new prison quarters.

Suu Kyi is being tried on multiple charges, including corruption. Her supporters say the charges are politically motivated to discredit her and legitimize the military’s seizure of power.

She has already been sentenced to 11 years on charges of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, sedition, and an initial corruption count.