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Junta denies Suu Kyi on hunger strike

Myanmar's ruling junta denied that detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had gone on hunger strike, but rumours persisted after she apparently refused to receive food deliveries.

world Updated: Aug 26, 2008 14:09 IST

Myanmar's ruling junta denied on Tuesday that detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had gone on hunger strike, but rumours persisted after she apparently refused to receive food deliveries.

Exiled Myanmar dissidents in India and Thailand reported that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has last accepted fresh food supplies on August 15.

"It is just rumours, it is not true," said a Myanmar government official who refused to be named. "We have not got any (political) demands from her."

Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), said they were unable to confirm or deny the report as they were not allowed to keep in regular touch with their leader, who is under house arrest in Yangon.

"We haven't heard anything about it. So we cannot confirm these rumours as we have no contact with her at all," said NLD spokesman Win Naing.

The rumours were persistent enough to spread to Western diplomatic circles, with one diplomat who refused to be named telling AFP: "We are trying to know more. The only person who has seen her is the doctor."

Aung San Suu Kyi's doctor and lawyer were permitted to visit her on August 17 when she was given a medical checkup, her first since February. One exiled opposition party based on the Thai-Myanmar border said it had heard Aung San Suu Kyi's weekly food supplies were last accepted on August 15, but were turned away on August 22.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of the past 19 years confined to her lakeside Yangon home. Her latest detention began more than five years ago, and she has been allowed little contact with the outside world.