Aung San Suu Kyi verdict draws international ire
A court in Burma (Myanmar) sentenced the opposition leader to 18 more months of house arrest for violating the terms of her detention. The trial was widely viewed as a sham.
A court in military-ruled Burma (Myanmar) has ordered opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to spend a further 18 months under house arrest, dashing hopes of clemency. The verdict, which was commuted from a sentence of three years in jail, flies in the face of international pressure aimed at securing her release.Skip to next paragraph
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Ms. Suu Kyi, who has spent the past six years confined to her lakeside house, was convicted Tuesday of breaching the terms of her detention after John Yettaw, an American tourist, swam across the lake and stayed two nights.
The court sentenced Mr. Yettaw, who was initially accused of being a spy, to seven years' imprisonment and hard labor. Yettaw, a Vietnam War veteran from Falcon, Mo., told the court that he had dreamed that her life was in danger and went to warn her.
The verdict against Suu Kyi, who leads the National League for Democracy (NLD), wasn't unexpected. By convicting her of a crime and extending her detention, Burma's rulers can ensure that she doesn't campaign in national elections expected next year – the first held since a 1990 poll that the NLD won and the military later annulled. Suu Kyi was detained in 1989 and has spent much of the past two decades under house arrest.
'Pressure didn't make any difference'
A drumbeat of diplomacy has grown in recent months, as it became clear that the regime intended to use Yettaw's visit to prolong Suu Kyi's detention. Last month, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon traveled to Burma and urged its reclusive leader Gen. Than Shwe to spare her.
Some of Burma's neighbors in Southeast Asia have also expressed frustration at its intransigence and the diplomatic friction it causes with their Western allies.