Sunday, May 24, 2009

Democracy fighter Aung San Suu Kyi faces new struggle for freedom

Members of Peace for Nepal march for the unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi in May 2009. (Binod Joshi/Associated Press)

On May 18 2009, nine days before she was to complete a six-year house arrest term, Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial in a cloistered prison courtroom, accused of violating the terms of her incarceration.

If convicted, she faces up to five more years in prison.

The charges were based on allegations by the Burmese government that American John William Yettaw, 53, swam across a lake and allegedly snuck into her home for two days.

According to Suu Kyi's restriction order, she is prohibited from having contact with embassies and political parties and she is barred from communicating with the outside world.

In response to the charges, Suu Kyi's lawyer quoted her as saying: "I am not guilty because I have not broken any law."

Human rights groups and the international community have derided the trial as a pretext to keep Suu Kyi imprisoned before 2010's national elections.

The proceedings mark the beginning of what appears to be the next chapter in what has become a familiar story for the opposition leader known simply as "The Lady."

Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention without trial. The Nobel Peace laureate and devout Buddhist has used a legendary mix of force and restraint to promote a non-violent movement for democracy in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

But the increasingly elusive and isolated regime in Burma has cracked down violently against the pro-democracy movement and has strived repeatedly to keep Suu Kyi — who it considers the greatest threat to its grip on power — under lock and key.

The situation echoes the events of 1988, when protests ended in bloodshed and a movement, symbolized by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, began.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment