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August 11th, 2009
Frustration with Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict Could Prompt New International Strategy Towards Burma

Human Rights Watch researcher, Dave Mathieson, spoke to WIDE ANGLE from the Burma-Thailand border about Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentence to 18 more months of house arrest, which he says should be a wake-up call for the international community to develop a more unified approach to “draw the military out of its hubris.”

Mathieson says the sentence, while commuted from 3 years of hard labor and not as long as some analysts expected, is a far cry from the unconditional release called for by the United Nations.

Listen to this excerpt from his interview with WIDE ANGLE multimedia producer Renee Feltz for Mathieson’s reaction to the verdict, and his detailed suggestions for how the United States and other nations can more effectively target Burma’s military leaders.

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WIDE ANGLE’s upcoming episode, Eyes of the Storm, tells the struggles of several orphaned children in Burma left to fend for themselves and rebuild their shattered lives in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. Through the eyes of the Burmese filmmaking team who shot undercover for over 10 months in defiance of the ruling junta’s media blackout, WIDE ANGLE provides a rare window into one of the world’s most secretive countries. Click here to watch a preview.

  • nyeinc

    Aung San Suu Kyi Released on Probation

    PBS should get the facts right before publishing a story.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has been released on Probation with half of her three-year sentenc commuted, the other half suspended

    The terms of her probation include

    1) to receive guests at her house, the guests permitted
    2) to leave the compound with the permission of authorities concerned

    (Note: According to the terms of her house arrest, she cannot receive guests at her house or leave the compound.)

    If she complies with the terms of her probation, the 1.5-year suspended sentence may also be commuted.

    (Sources: BBC Burmese Service, Radio Free Asia Burmese Program, VOA Burmese Service, Evening Programs, 11 August 2009)

    The Western nations should not make the situation worse by mischarecterizing the “release on probation” as “extension of house arrest”. The terms of her restrictions are different although the fact that she remains confined to her house remains the same. Under the terms of her probation, Aung San Suu Kyi will be able to receive the guests (including her family and her party leaders) and go to temple/church with a written request in advance.

    If Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters attempt to take advantage of the situation to impose UN Security Council action on Burma, spinning the “release on probation” into an “extention of house arrest” in her state and non-state supporters alike could worsen the situation, eventually leading to the reinstation of suspended sentence.

    The cooler head(s) prevail(s) on the regime’s decision to release Aung San Suu Kyi on probation. The same is expected from the part of Western nations.

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