Friday, October 2, 2009

Suu Kyi detention appeal rejected by Burma’s court

It was a foregone conclusion and everyone knew what would be the outcome of the appeal the Nobel laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi filed before the Burmese court dominated by the ruling military junta. So, when the Burmese court rejected her appeal against her extended detention, it did not make much waves in Burma (now Myanmar), though there were protests by lovers of democracy in far off places, notably, Seoul in South Korea, where her supporters demonstrated against her further detention.

It all happened when the self-proclaimed messenger of God, American man John Yettaw had a vision of God in which the God told him that ‘Ms Suu Kyi’s life is in danger and he should deliver the message to her’ and he stealthily swam uninvited to her lakeside home. But the Burmese military found in it an opportunity or excuse to keep her in prison till the next elections are over. And, in August 2009, they found Ms Suu Kyi guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest.

Consequently she was sentenced to 18 months' further house arrest, which will keep her out of elections scheduled for next year. Ms Suu Kyi's conviction had drawn widespread international condemnation and there were demonstrations in major world cities and appeals were sent to the Burmese military rulers by several international leaders, dignitaries, and even presidents and prime ministers, asking for her release.

Significantly, the Burma court ruling comes days after the US said it would pursue greater engagement with Burma's generals in a bid to advance democratic reforms in Burma. But democracy is what the generals cannot tolerate in Burma. If they seriously believe in what they promise and do, they should have gracefully accepted the verdict of the Burmese people when Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the country's last elections in 1990. But they never allowed her or her party to come to power and she was kept in prison for winning the democratic mandate with a massive majority.

So now Burma's military authorities want to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi is kept in detention until after polls scheduled for next year. Going by the past history of the Burmese generals, the election will be yet another eyewash and they are never going to allow true democracy in Burma.

The people’s leader of Burma, a distinguished scholar, writer, distinguished diplomat, Nobel Prize winner and a world leader in her own rights, Ms Suu Kyi has already spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention. No demonstrations, no diplomatic pressures, no economic sanctions and no peaceful solutions can deter the human rights violations committed by the military rulers, but they need to be told in stronger terms about what human rights and democratic values are and what the people of Burma want.

Burma was one of the richest countries in South East Asia when the British left. But by now the Burmese military has reduced Burma as one of the poorest countries in the world.

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