Fri 26 Feb 2010
Filed under: Press Release
The denial of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against her sentencing in August 2009 was condemned today by Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis, although he said it came as no surprise. In his statement this morning on the verdict, Mr Lewis said:
“The rejection of Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal is a further, sad indictment of the Burmese regime. The military government continues to suppress all dissent, deny Burma’s people their fundamental freedoms, and detain democratic and ethnic leaders.
I urge the regime to recognise that in a country of over one hundred ethnic groups, there can be no national reconciliation, no peace and no prosperity without an inclusive political process.
The elections planned for later this year present an historic opportunity to reverse Burma’s bitter decline into poverty and international isolation. The UK government will continue to do all it can to press them to seize this opportunity. The EU and the entire international community stand ready to respond quickly and positively to tangible progress.”
Mr Lewis’ statement supported the earlier announcement from Prime Minister Gordon Brown who said:
“I am appalled and saddened that Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against the sentence imposed by the regime has been denied. That failed appeal is sadly no surprise.
From start to end, the sole purpose of this show trial has been to prevent Daw Suu Kyi from taking part in elections. In my open letter to Aung San Suu Kyi in December, I said that this should be a historic year for Burma.
Free, fair and genuinely inclusive elections would allow the country to move forward, to map a new path. But while she is kept out of political life and while over 2100 other prisoners of conscience remain incarcerated, the regime’s elections will not gain recognition nor international legitimacy.”
The UK government continues to be at the forefront of international efforts to free Aung Sang Suu Kyi. Her sentencing to a further 18 months house arrest in August 2009, following a sham trial, provoked widespread international outrage. This denial of her appeal has cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the elections the regime plan this year.