- Title: VARIOUS: Indonesians react to Aung San Suu Kyi's 18-month sentence
- Date: 13th August 2009
- Summary: JAKARTA, INDONESIA (AUGUST 12, 2009) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC AT BUSY JAKARTA STREET WELCOME STATUE AT JAKARTA'S MAIN ROUNDABOUT STREET TRAFFIC CROWDS WITH ADVERTISING BOARDS ON STREET
- Embargoed: 28th August 2009 05:47
- Topics: Legal System,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA97DCJRPCXCONWZCT8CTO3RIHQ
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Indonesians react sharply against 18-months' additional house arrest for Aung San Suu Kyi, while one analyst expresses hope that the country's military government is sensitive to pressure from the international community.
Indonesians reacted sharply on Wednesday (August 12) against the 18-months' additional house arrest for Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
A court in army-ruled Myanmar sentenced Suu Kyi to 18 months in detention on Tuesday (August 11), a verdict that drew condemnation abroad and will keep her off the political stage through Myanmar's elections next year.
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 64-year-old Nobel peace laureate could serve the time in her Yangon home.
Myanmar's home minister, Major-General Muang Oo, told the court moments after the verdict it had taken into account the fact that Suu Kyi was the daughter of Myanmar independence hero Aung San, and "the need to preserve community peace and tranquillity" as the country prepares for multi-party elections.
The verdict drew criticism from leaders and people around the world.
In Jakarta, newspaper headlines highlighted the sentence.
"We urge the international community to take concrete action against the Burmese military junta," Jakarta resident Patra Zen told Reuters Television.
Another resident called the sentence inexcusable.
"My perception is that she received an additional 18 months' punishment because some man, I understand who is English or something like that, met her in the house. That does not make sense and is inexcusable," said Arthur.
Meantime in Thailand, political activists were not surprised by the sentence handed down to Suu Kyi. Thailand's ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement expressing disappointment over the sentence.
However one organisation believes the trial shows Myanmar's ruling junta was influenced by international pressure.
"We could see that from a fast kangaroo trial in one week, the regime has had to delay the trial and to impose a lighter sentence because of international pressure. This is clear evidence that the regime is sensitive to the international pressure. And this should be a good sign that we have to keep pushing the regime," said Debbie Stothard of Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma.
She added that with elections scheduled for next year, the military government of Myanmar is afraid of Suu Kyi's influence over the electorate.
Critics say the case was fabricated by the military to keep the charismatic Suu Kyi out of circulation ahead of the polls.
The charges stemmed from a mysterious incident in which an American, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside home in May and stayed there uninvited for two days. That breached the terms of her house arrest and broke a security law protecting the state from "subversive elements."
Yettaw, taken to hospital last week after suffering seizures, was sentenced to seven years' hard Labour in a parallel trial on three charges, including immigration offenses and "swimming in a non-swimming area."
His lawyer said the American suffered from epilepsy, diabetes and heart trouble. Yettaw, a Mormon, told the court God had sent him to warn Suu Kyi she would be assassinated by "terrorists."
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