Swedish prize for Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar's imprisoned pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be awarded the Olof Palme Prize 2005 for her democratic efforts, the slain Swedish leader's memorial fund said on Monday.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is awarded the Olof Palme Prize 2005 for her unyielding fight for a democratic Burma (Myanmar),” the Olof Palme Memorial Fund said in a statement.

The prize, which was established a year after Sweden’s then prime minister was shot dead on a busy Stockholm street on the night of February 28, 1986, is usually awarded on Palme’s birthday, January 30.

“But this year, due to the 20th anniversary, we will hand over the prize on the day of Palme’s death,” fund member Anita Klum told AFP.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won elections in 1990 but was never allowed to govern. Its offices have been shut down by the country’s military junta and she has never had the opportunity to receive the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize awarded her in Oslo in 1991.

Suu Kyi has had virtually no contact with the outside world since her last detention period began in May 2003. Her house arrest was last extended by six months in December.

“We have invited Aung San Suu Kyi to come, but due to her house arrest she will not be able to,” Klum said, adding that Suu Kyi’s first cousin and the prime minister of her exiled government, Sein Win, would accept the award and the prize money of 50,000 dollars (41,400 euros) on her behalf.

Previous winners of the prize include former Czech president Vaclev Havel and human rights group Amnesty International.