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Burma’s political crisis ‘to get worse’

Aug 12, 2009 (DVB), Burma's political crisis is set to get worse leading up to and in the aftermath of the elections next year following Aung San Suu Kyi's imprisonment, according to a high-profile Burmese politician.

Suu Kyi was yesterday sentenced to 18 months under house arrest, which will keep her in detention beyond the elections next year which have been scheduled for March.

Aye Thar Aung, from the Committee Representing the People's Parliament, said that Suu Kyi and other political prisoners must be released in order that national reconciliation begins, a necessary prerequisite for ending the crisis.

"Instead of letting her go, they sent her to prison and I see this as destroying an opportunity for the national reconciliation," he said.

"I'd say our country's political crisis is not going to be solved; in fact it's only going to get worse before and after the elections."

His comments echoed by a senior figure in Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, Win Tin, who said that she should be allowed freedom of movement and organization.

"Just continuing to keep her under house arrest wouldn't bear any fruit for Burma's political situation," he said.

Although the sentence fell short of the expected five years, the government has carried through on what was widely seen as a deliberate ploy to keep her in detention beyond the elections.

The sentencing provoked international outcry, with world leaders condemning the Burmese regime and its "sham trial".

U Myo, of the exiled Burma Lawyers' Council, said that the sentencing was "a gesture of injustice".

"The laws under which she was sentenced were already abolished and there was absolutely no excuse to give her the terms," he said.

Myint Thein, of the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma, added that the verdict "is in an opposite direction from basic democratic rights."

Suu Kyi will return to the Rangoon compound in which she has been held under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years, accompanied by her two caretakers who also received 18 month sentences.

The US citizen John Yettaw, whose visit to Suu Kyi's compound in May triggered the trial, received seven years in prison with four years hard labour.

Reporting by Aye Nai


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