Thursday, 14 November 2019

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s conviction sparks global outcry

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s conviction today sparked an international outcry, leading to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to call for an ‘Arms Embargo’ on military-ruled Burma.

Hours after the court’s decision to hand down an-18 month suspended sentence to Aung San Suu Kyi, Gordon Brown issued a statement, condemning the court and the junta for their decision and urging the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the country.

“I am both saddened and angry at the verdict today, on August 11, following the sham trial of Aung San Suu Kyi,” the British Prime Minister said in the statement. Brown said, the United Kingdom had made its stand clear that it would respond positively to any progress made towards democratization in Burma, but the junta on Tuesday explicitly rejected that course. “The international community must take action,” he emphasized.

He also said, that the European Union had agreed to “impose tough new sanctions targeting the economic interests of the regime”.

The British Prime Minister added that the Security Council must “now respond resolutely and impose a worldwide ban on the sale of arms to the regime”.

The court on Tuesday handed down an 18-month suspended sentence, implying that Aung San Suu Kyi and her two live-in party mates would be taken back to their lakeside home in University Avenue and kept under restrictions.

However, her lawyer said, she could have a television and read newspapers and also request for permission to receive guests.

Even as the court announced its verdict of a three-year sentence with hard labour for Aung San Suu Kyi and her two friends, the junta’s military Supremo Snr Gen in an order, commuted the term to an 18-month suspended sentence.

But critics said the move is not a concession, but a new tactic deployed by the junta to ease international pressure, while assuring that Aung San Suu Kyi effectively remains out of the scene for the planned 2010 elections.

“So long as Aung San Suu Kyi and all those political opponents imprisoned in Burma, remain in detention and are prevented from playing their full part in the political process, the proposed elections in 2010, will have no credibility or legitimacy,” Brown said.

Echoing the voice of the British Prime Minister, the European Parliamentary Caucus on Burma (EPCB), said the international community should do more for Burma and called on the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the regime.

The EPCB, in their statement released hours following the verdict of Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, further called on the UNSC to set up a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity being committed against ethnic minorities in Eastern Burma.

Continuing Legal Fight

Nyan Win, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer and her party’s spokesperson, said he was unhappy with the court’s decision and would continue taking legal steps. “We will continue with the legal procedures and follow up on the case. I will be meeting Aung San Suu Kyi in a few days from now and we will discuss what can be done next,” Nyan Win told Mizzima on Tuesday.

He, however, did not explain whether they would appeal against the Insein Prison Court’s decision to a higher court.

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi’s international counsel in the United States, Jared Genser had filed a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi under its “urgent action” process.

The UNWGAD, on five prior occasions, has found that Aung San Suu Kyi’s various terms of house arrest were in contravention of international law and in violation of Burmese law as well.

Genser said, “The Burmese junta’s extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention in clear violation of their own laws comes as no surprise.”

He said, for over 40 years, the junta has shown little regard for Burmese or international law. The junta remains deeply concerned about Aung San Suu Kyi’s popularity, especially, leading up to the 2010 ‘election’ by which the junta hopes to legitimize its rule.

“The outcome of this trial has never been in doubt. The real question is how the international community will react – will it do more than simply condemn this latest injustice?” Genser enquired.


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