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Switzerland condemns Suu Kyi sentence

The foreign ministry has joined a worldwide chorus of condemnation of the extension of the house arrest imposed on Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

This content was published on August 11, 2009 - 17:03

The sentence was announced on Tuesday after a trial in which Suu Kyi was convicted of violating her existing house arrest by allowing an uninvited American to stay at her home.

The court sentenced Suu Kyi to three years with hard labour, but this was reduced by the head of the Myanmar junta, Than Shwe, to 18 months to be served at home.

The ministry described the trial as political and said it was fundamentally at odds with international legal standards.

The sentence "calls into question" the desire repeatedly expressed by the Myanmar government to hold democratic elections in 2010, according to the ministry statement.

It said the fact that people were still being detained in Myanmar for expressing their opinions or engaging in peaceful political activities was "a matter of grave concern".

The foreign ministry backed the call by the UN secretary-general for the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi, and for a real dialogue with the opposition in order to create the conditions for credible elections.

Suu Kyi was put on trial after an American, John Yettaw, swam across the lake outside her house in May. Yettaw was sentenced to seven years with hard labour.

Suu Kyi, a winner of the Nobel peace prize, has spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention, mainly under house arrest.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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