Myanmar’s military junta extended Nobel Peace laureate and pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s imprisonment by 18 months today after finding her guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest.
Critics of Myanmar’s military regime condemned the outcome of the 3-month sham trial, calling it a pretext to keep Aung San Suu Kyi out of the running during next year’s presidential elections.
The junta — which currently detains more than 2,100 political prisoners — commuted the sentence from three years hard labor in prison to an 18-month extension of house arrest in the hopes that the international community will view the reduced sentence as an act of leniency.
But Aung San Suu Kyi should have never been imprisoned in the first place.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s deplorable imprisonment has been denounced by everyone from heads of state worldwide to nine of her fellow Nobel laureates. Join the court of world opinion in condemning the sham trial. Tell the leader of Myanmar’s military junta that she shouldn’t serve another minute of her sentence.
We know that the odds of success may seem stacked against us any time we appeal to authoritarian rulers. But the recent release of two U.S. journalists from North Korea is proof that even totalitarian regimes are vulnerable to relentless international pressure.
The fact that Myanmar’s government reduced Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentence is also a sign that the military regime is susceptible to the world community’s criticisms.
Amnesty International has proven time after time that even military dictatorships and other repressive regimes are no match for Amnesty’s millions-strong global movement. Just last year, Ma Khin Khin Leh, another prisoner of conscience in Myanmar, obtained her release after Amnesty activists sent tens of thousands of letters to Myanmar’s leaders on her behalf.