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Reporters Barred From Suu Kyi

Burma's opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has endured significant hardship.

She was held under house arrest for nearly six years until 1995.

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Since then, she has been subject to around-the-clock surveillance and at times has been blocked from participating in political activities.

On April 5, three American journalists - including this correspondent - quietly contacted Ms. Suu Kyi to request an interview.

She agreed and invited the reporters to her home.

But when the reporters arrived at a police barricade a few blocks from her house, their car was surrounded by a dozen security officials.

Two security officers in plain clothes photographed the carload of journalists, even instructing the driver at one point to roll down the car windows to facilitate better views of the reporters' faces.

After a 10-minute delay, the security officers returned the journalists' passports and informed them that the government would not grant permission for the interview. The driver was ordered to leave the area.

Later, in a handwritten reply to questions submitted in writing, Suu Kyi said the road in front of her house has been closed by security officials for 15 months.

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She said that technically she is not under house arrest, but her movements and activities are sharply restricted.

"As you have witnessed for yourselves," she wrote, "the authorities do not hesitate to keep out visitors whom they do not wish me to meet."

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