[JURIST] A Myanmar court sentenced two members of the National League of Democracy (NLD) [party website] to 18 months in prison after leading prayers for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST report]. Chit Pe and Aung Saw Wei were sentenced [AP report] in a southern Yangon court after being convicted of insulting religion. NLD spokesman Nyan Win reported that the two party members, originally arrested in April, led the prayers at a Twante pagoda for Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. Win, who also acts as Suu Kyi's lawyer, maintained that their actions were not an insult to religion but rather a practice of Buddhism.
Suu Kyi's trial was recently delayed [JURIST report] to allow a defense witness to explain why the charges against the Nobel Laureate are politically motivated. Suu Kyi faces charges of violating the terms of her house arrest for allowing an American to stay with her after he swam across a lake to visit. Her arrest was controversial and highly criticized [JURIST report] by the international community. Suu Kyi, the leader of the NLD, has spent 12 of the past 18 years in prison or under house arrest for alleged violations of an anti-subversion law [text, PDF]. News of Suu Kyi's trial has been met with criticism from numerous agencies and governments around the world. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has called the charges [HRW report] against Suu Kyi, "trumped up."