Writers in prison - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is probably the most famous prisoner in the world. A writer and leader of the National League for Democracy, she is once again under house arrest at her home in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma).

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of the past 15 years in detention, much of the time in solitary confinement. She has suffered greatly for her principled stand against military repression. Separated from her husband and two sons, who remained in England, she was even unable to see her husband, the academic Michael Aris, on his deathbed. Aung San Suu Kyi feared that if she travelled to Britain, she would not be allowed to return to Burma.

Recent hopes for peaceful democratic change in Myanmar have waned over the past year. In May 2003, large numbers of attackers were unleashed on a peaceful pro-democracy meeting, and Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been touring the country speaking to enormous crowds, was taken into "protective custody".

Please write to:

Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt Secretary 1

State Peace and Development Council

c/o Director of Defence Services Intelligence (DDSI)

Ministry of Defence

Signal Pagoda Road

Dagon Post Office


Union of Myanmar

Fax: 00 95 1 229 50

Melissa Benn writes for the Guardian and other publications on social issues, particularly education. She is the author of several books of non-fiction and two novels, including One of Us (2008), and reviews books for the New Statesman

This article first appeared in the 26 January 2004 issue of the New Statesman, NS Special Report - The killing fields