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Mrs. Suu Kyi’s father, Aung San, joined Japanese forces during World War II with hopes they would end British colonial rule and grant independence to Burma. Atrocities committed by Japanese occupiers prompted Aung San to switch sides and help British forces oust Japan in 1945.

His assassination in 1947 and the slayings of six members of his interim government were blamed on political rivals. The assassinations are marked each July 19 as Martyrs’ Day.

After Burma’s independence in 1948, Aung San’s daughter studied in Rangoon until she was 15, and then moved to New Delhi, where her widowed mother was Burma’s ambassador to India and Nepal.

She studied politics at Delhi University and obtained an undergraduate degree from Oxford University’s St. Hugh’s College before marrying in 1972.

After returning to Burma, she became involved in politics. Her National League for Democracy party won more than 80 percent of parliament’s seats in a 1990 election.

The military, which has held power since a 1962 coup, voided that election.

The junta often denounces Mrs. Suu Kyi as an “ax handle” and “puppet” being used by the U.S. CIA and Burma’s other enemies to chop up the resource-rich country so the Pentagon can establish military bases.

While Mrs. Suu Kyi languishes under house arrest, Burma holds hundreds of other political prisoners in cruel conditions, according to London-based Amnesty International and other human rights groups.