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15 August 2009

Asean consensus to seek pardon for Suu Kyi

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Thailand, as current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), is asking for consensus among member countries to seek pardon for Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a court sentenced her to an additional 18 months of house detention, state news agency TNA reported, quoting Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya.

The letter has been circulated to all Asean member countries to ask for their support for the move, he said, adding that a copy of the letter was also sent to the Myanmar government.

Myanmar's ruling junta leader Than Shwe on Tuesday ordered Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi to remain under house arrest for another 18 months, commuting a three-year sentence of hard labour and imprisonment imposed by a court in Yangon.

“We are seeking a consensus among Asean members to ask for a pardon for Aung San Suu Kyi,” Kasit said, adding that, “We want to see her be pardoned first. For other political prisoners, we have demanded their release several times”.

International anger erupted at Myanmar after the verdict, but Asean's reaction was typically muted, expressing only “deep disappointment” at the detention of Suu Kyi. The 10-nation bloc, currently chaired by Thailand, has faced frequent criticism for taking a soft line on Myanmar, its most troublesome member.


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