Suu Kyi ordered back into house detention

Suu Kyi ordered back into house detention

She was given a 3-year jail which was later reduced to 18 months

Suu Kyi ordered back into house detention

Aung San Suu Kyi

The court handed down a three-year prison term for violation of an internal security law. But that was immediately halved on the orders of the military government, which said the Nobel peace laureate could serve the time in her Yangon home.  "Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of the charges and I hereby pass the sentence of three years' imprisonment," said the judge, drawing gasps from the courtroom. Moments after the verdict was passed, however, Myanmar's home minister, Major-Gen Muang Oo, stood before the court and announced that the junta had decided to reduce her sentence.

Muang Oo said it had taken into account the fact that Suu Kyi was the daughter of Myanmar independence hero Aung San as well as "the need to preserve community peace and tranquillity and prevent any disturbances in the road map to democracy". The "road map" refers to plans laid down by the junta to move towards what it sees as democracy, which will culminate in multi-party elections planned for next year. Muang Oo's intervention appeared at odds with the junta's repeated statements that its judiciary is independent.

Critics say the case was fabricated by the military to keep the charismatic Suu Kyi out of circulation ahead of the polls. The 27-country European Union said in a statement it will respond with additional targeted measures "against those responsible for the verdict".

In addition, the EU will further reinforce its restrictive measures targeting the regime of Burma/Myanmar, including its economic interests.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed the tougher sanctions, saying in a statement “these should particularly target the resources it profits directly from—wood and ruby mining". British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "saddened and angry" at the sentence, while Australia joined the EU in calling for the immediate release of Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners in the former Burma.

Suu Kyi has already spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention. The latest charges stemmed from a mysterious incident in which an American, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside home in May and stayed there for two days, which breached the terms of her house arrest.  Yettaw was sentenced to seven years' hard labour in a parallel trial on three charges, including immigration offences and "swimming in a non-swimming area".

The verdict
*  Military junta orders Suu Kyi’s detention at home
*  Suu Kyi has already spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention. 
*  EU says will step up sanctions
*  American intruder Yettaw gets seven years' hard labour

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