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The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has released the following statement responding to the news that Aung San Suu Kyi will spend a further one and a half years under house arrest in Burma:
I am both saddened and angry at the verdict today, 11 August , following the sham trial of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The news – that she has been found guilty and sentenced to three years hard labour but that this has been “mitigated” to a suspended sentence of 1.5 years under house arrest – is further proof that the military regime in Burma is determined to act with total disregard for accepted standards of the rule of law and in defiance of international opinion.
This is a purely political sentence designed to prevent her from taking part in the regime’s planned elections next year.
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 planned elections in 2010 will have no credibility or legitimacy.
The façade of her prosecution is made more monstrous because its real objective is to sever her bond with the people for whom she is a beacon of hope and resistance.
I have always made clear that the United Kingdom would respond positively to any signs of progress on democratic reform in Burma. But with the generals explicitly rejecting that course today, the international community must take action.
The EU has agreed to impose tough new sanctions targeting the economic interests of the regime.
I also believe that the UN Security Council – whose will has been flouted – must also now respond resolutely and impose a worldwide ban on the sale of arms to the regime.
My thoughts today are with Aung San Suu Kyi – the human face of Burma’s tragedy – and with the people of Burma who suffer on a daily basis.