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ABA President Calls Suu Kyi Conviction an ‘Affront to the Just Rule of Law’

Posted Aug 13, 2009 6:54 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm is condemning the conviction and sentence of former Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as a violation of international law.

Suu Kyi was convicted of violating the terms of her house arrest on Tuesday and sentenced to 18 months of additional house arrest. The Burmese democracy activist was convicted for a visit by an uninvited American, John Yettaw, who swam to her home. The sentence will keep Suu Kyi at home past the date of national elections in Myanmar, scheduled for 2010.

In a press release, Lamm called the conviction and sentence “an ongoing affront to the just rule of law by Myanmar's military junta.”

“The sentence, imposed ostensibly for breaching an already unjust confinement, is not supported by due process or international law,” Lamm said. “The American Bar Association calls upon the government of Myanmar to observe and respect the full range of human rights to which Suu Kyi, her co-defendants and the Burmese people are entitled under the most fundamental precepts of international law, including free and fair democratic elections.”

Also condemning Suu Kyi’s conviction is a lawyer working on her behalf. Jared Genser, a partner with DLA Piper, has filed petitions with the United Nations to generate political pressure for her release, the American Lawyer reports. “At the end of the day, this is a political trial,” he told the publication.

Suu Kyi's defense team is planning an appeal in Myanmar's courts, the Associated Press reports.

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