Posted August. 12, 2009 08:37,
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of Myanmars democratic movement, will be under house arrest for 18 additional months.
The Associated Press yesterday said a Myanmar court gave the sentence to Suu Kyi for violating the terms of her house arrest. The maximum punishment was three years in prison and hard labor.
The head of Myanmar`s junta, Gen. Than Shwe, ordered the sentence to be halved and served at her home.
Home Affairs Minister Maung Oo read aloud a special order from Than Shwe in the courtroom saying the sentence was commuted to maintain community peace and stability and because Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San, a revered hero who won Myanmars independence from Britain.
The decision to commute her sentence was apparently intended relieve domestic and international pressure by showing generosity while removing her from the political scene ahead of next year`s elections in Myanmar.
"I look forward to working with you in the future for the peace and prosperity of my country and the region," Suu Kyi said in a grateful voice to diplomats seated nearby after the ruling. She was then led out of the courtroom and returned to her villa in Yangon.
In early May, American John Yettaw entered Suu Kyis home, an act which prompted the junta to arrest her May 14 and send her to the political prison Insein near Yangon. A court was made in the prison.
Since Suu Kyi joined the democratic movement in 1988, she has been under house arrest three times for a combined 14 years.
The New York Times said after the trial, This trial is the plan of the junta to order her to stay under house arrest until next years elections.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was saddened and angry over the verdict, calling it a sham trial.
The European Union has also agreed to impose tough new sanctions on Myanmar.
The Malaysian government said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must hold an emergency meeting to discuss the issue.
In 1990, the junta nullified the results of national elections and put Suu Kyi under house arrest. Her party National League for Democracy had won a landslide victory by taking 392 of 495 seats in the elections.
Given the painful past, the junta believes it cannot win in next years elections without putting her under house arrest again.