Myanmar court finds Suu Kyi guilty of violating house arrest

[JURIST] A Myanmar court on Monday convicted opposition pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of violating the terms of her house arrest, sentencing her to an additional 18 months under house arrest. Suu Kyi had been charged with violating state security laws by allowing an American to stay with her after he swam across a lake to her home. The American, John Yettaw, was tried along with Suu Kyi and sentenced [BBC report] to seven years in prison, with four years of hard labor. Suu Kyi's conviction was condemned [BBC report] by many world leaders. The European Union (EU) [official website] issued a statement [press release] saying, "[t]he proceedings against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, on charges which were brought twenty years after she was first wrongfully arrested, have been in breach of national and international law. The EU urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her." US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official profile] said [press release], "she should not have been tried and she should not have been convicted. We continue to call for her release from continuing house arrest." UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] said [press release] he was "both saddened and angry at the verdict." French President Nicholas Sarkozy [official website, in French] called the verdict [press release, in French] "brutal and unjust."

Suu Kyi's trial resumed last month after a delay [JURIST reports] with the testimony of Khin Moe Moe, a member of Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy (NLD) [party website] party, who claimed the charges were politically motivated. In June, a Myanmar court sentenced [JURIST report] two members of the NLD to 18 months in prison after leading prayers for Suu Kyi's release. Her arrest was controversial and highly criticized [JURIST report] by the international community. She 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 said the charges [press release] against Suu Kyi are "trumped up."

 

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