The Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was today sentenced to three years in jail reduced to 18 months house arrest. The judges in Myanmar found that the Nobel peace laureate had violated the terms of her house arrest when an American man swam across a lake to warn her about an assassination attempt.
The American man, John Yettaw, was sentenced to seven years hard labour and Aung San Suu Kyi’s housemates and political aides, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, were also sentenced to 18 months house arrest.
The sentence was reduced on the orders of the Myanmar military leadership who have been in power since 1962. In a 1990 election, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy’s (NLD) won a landslide victory.
Ever since that defeat, the Burmese junta have refused to recognise the result and have kept Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for 14 of the last 20 years. Elections due to be held in 2010 are a likely source of a renewed desire to keep Aung San Suu Kyi out of the public eye.