MPs speak out ahead of Aung San Suu Kyi trial

June 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

by Dan Billingham

MPs added to international concern at the forthcoming trial of Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday evening.

Conservative John Bercow slammed the “institutionalised inhumanity” of Burma’s ruling military junta who have kept Dr. Suu Kyi under house arrest for years without a telephone and with frequent denials of medical treatment.

Dr. Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party won 80 per cent of seats in a 1990 election only for the results to be annulled by the military.

She faces trial and possible incarceration next month for ostensibly violating the terms of her house arrest last month by permitting an American intruder to stay in her house for three days.

Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael declared that the process against her “breaches just about every norm of international law,” reflecting concern at her lack of representation in court as part of a presumed government effort to convict her.

Carmichael was full of praise for Dr. Suu Kyi’s courage: “The irony is that while she may become physically more frail, politically she becomes stronger with every day that she passes in detention.

“I hope that, whatever happens to Aung San Suu Kyi, she will not be left to suffer in vain, and that everything that happens to her will only serve to redouble our determination to bring democracy to that beautiful but benighted country.”

Ivan Lewis, new minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, assured the House that the government has been airing its alarm at international fora despite apparently being impeded by the geopolitical splits that often paralyse human rights initiatives.

“The UK will be pushing for the firmest of responses, but it is only right on occasions such as this to be honest and frank about the boundaries of the effectiveness of our efforts…Burma’s neighbours, including China, India, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, are in no doubt that they have a critical role to play and need to use their influence.”


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