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Anger greets Suu Kyi conviction

World leaders have reacted with anger and disappointment at the conviction of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for violating security laws.

The UN called for her immediate release after she was sentenced to a further 18 months of house arrest - where she has spent 14 of the past 20 years.

The US, the European Union, Britain and France were among those who condemned the verdict.

However, trading partners China and India have made no public comment.

Ms Suu Kyi was on trial for allowing a US national, John Yettaw, into her lakeside home after he swam there uninvited. John Yettaw was jailed for seven years, including four years of hard labour.

Critics of Burma's military regime say the verdict is designed to prevent Ms Suu Kyi from taking part in elections scheduled for 2010.

'Sham trial'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said he "strongly deplores" the verdict, and has called for Ms Suu Kyi's immediate and unconditional release.

"Unless she and all other political prisoners in Myanmar [Burma] are released and allowed to participate in free and fair elections, the credibility of the political process will remain in doubt," he said.

A spokesman for the European Union, Ton van Lierop, said the further detention of the 64-year-old was unjustified and unacceptable.

"Keeping Aung San Suu Kyi under arrest under fabricated reasons violates her fundamental freedoms, and does not serve the proclaimed national interest either," he told the BBC.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "saddened and angry" by the verdict in what he called a "sham" trial.

In a strongly-worded statement, he condemned the "purely political sentence".

A statement from the office of Nicolas Sarkozy said the French president was calling on the European Union to impose new sanctions on Burma.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Aung San Suu Kyi should not have been tried or convicted. She also called for the release of Mr Yettaw and "more than 2,000 political prisoners".

"The Burmese junta should immediately end its repression of so many in this country, start a dialogue with the opposition and the ethnic groups.

"Otherwise the elections they have scheduled for next year will have absolutely no legitimacy," she said.

Asian response

Mrs Suu Kyi's previous period of house arrest expired on 27 May. This new term will mean she is still in detention during the polls, which are expected to take place in about May 2010.

Her party, the National League for Democracy, won the last elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power.

In Asia, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines have been outspoken in condemning the sentence.

But, says the BBC's Jill McGivering, it is notable that two of Burma's biggest trading partners and allies - India and China - have avoided public comment on the trial.

India and China, with Thailand, have been accused by critics of propping up the military government, especially in recent years as growing economic sanctions have strangled its trade relationship with the West.


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Added: Aug-11-2009 Occurred On: Aug-11-2009
By: mik1867
In:
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Tags: Auung san suu Kyi, Burma, UN, Asia, Injustice, Military, Junta, Dictator, Dictatorship, US man, Pro democracy, Europian eunion, Great Britain, Thailand, China, India, Economic Sanctions, Trial, Court
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