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Australia pleads freedom for Burma's Suu Kyi

Australia pleads freedom for Burma's Suu Kyi article image
Unofficial Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi was yesterday sentenced to 18 months home detention following a trial involving accidental contact she had with an American man who swam to her lakeside home earlier this year. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith has condemned the sentencing under Burma’s Law Protecting the State Against the Dangers of Subversive Elements, noting that it means the housebound leader would not be able to contest next year's elections. "The regime still has the opportunity to set aside the conviction and sentence, release Aung San Suu Kyi and move down the path of national reconciliation," said Smith in a statement. "Australia and the international community stand ready to assist Burma if the regime moves towards democracy. I deeply regret that the regime has not yet seized this opportunity, on the contrary." Smith met with Burmese Foreign Minister U Nyan Win in Thailand last month and yesterday instructed his department to call in the Burmese Ambassador to express Australia’s dismay at Aung San Suu Kyi’s conviction and sentencing. He says Australia will consult with the United Nations and the Association of South East Asian Nations on further action to move Burma towards democracy. Australia currently has financial sanctions against the Asian nation.

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