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Suu Kyi Expected to Appeal Confinement Extension

Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to extended home detention through next year's elections. Myanmar analysts mull her future.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next tonight, the continuing crackdown in Myanmar, the country formally known as Burma. NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden narrates our setup report.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Aung San Suu Kyi awoke today in the home that has been her prison for much of the last 20 years. The democracy activist and Nobel laureate was convicted yesterday for violating the terms of her home detention.

    The repressive military regime in Myanmar has kept her confined for her political activities. Yesterday's decision stems from a bizarre incident in May involving an American man who swam across a lake to Suu Kyi's home. John Yettaw claimed he was trying to save her from assassination. He stayed at her home for two days. Both were arrested and jailed on various charges.

    Yesterday, Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years at hard labor, but the sentence was quickly reduced by the junta's leader to 18 months of home confinement. Yettaw was sentenced to seven years of hard labor.

    Both verdicts will be appealed, but Suu Kyi's attorney said it came as no surprise. He spoke yesterday to the Associated Press.

  • NYAN WIN, attorney (through translator):

    Lady Suu has been expecting this outcome from the beginning. We didn't say it before because it would have amounted to trying to influence the court. Actually, we anticipated this kind of outcome from the beginning; that's why we have been stocking many books and medicines.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    International condemnation was swift. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday.

    HILLARY CLINTON, secretary of state: She should not have been tried, and she should not have been convicted. We continue to call for her release.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Suu Kyi will be detained at least through elections planned in Myanmar for next year. It would be the first such poll since 1990, when Suu Kyi's party was elected in a landslide but was prevented from taking power.

  • ANNA ROBERTS, Burma Campaign U.K.:

    It's clear that the regime wants to silence Aung San Suu Kyi and all voices of dissent in Burma ahead of their sham elections that are planned for next year, elections we know that have nothing to do with democracy and freedom, but everything to do with ensuring their continued rule and about entrenching military dictatorship in Burma.

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