Prior to the sentence there was some speculation there were disagreements amongst the military on whether to sentence her punitively or to follow their own laws, either way the purpose would be achieved, to remove her from running in the ‘elections’ the regime hope will change their image abroad. Even in the sentencing they played out a ludicrous charade to try and paint Than Shwe in a favourable light-
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to a further 18 months house arrest by Rangoon Northern District Court on Tuesday, according to representatives of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).
NLD spokesman Khin Maung Swe told The Irrawaddy that the verdict was delivered at 11:50 a.m. Suu Kyi was initially sentenced to three years imprisonment, but later the court changed her sentence to 18 months to be served under house arrest.
Journalists were unexpectedly allowed to be present in the court when the verdict was announced.
According to journalists, Burmese Home Minister Maung Oo entered the courtroom after the three-year sentence was announced and read aloud a special order from junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe stating that as Suu Kyi is the daughter of national hero Gen Aung San, her sentence should be reduced to 18 months and that the sentence should be suspended.
The same terms of suspended sentence were applied to the verdict on Suu Kyi’s two companions, Win Ma Ma and Khin Khin Win.
Clearly the junta are reflecting on how they are perceived both domestically and overseas, but not enough to actually stop being thugs. How the world reacts to this sentence could, more than before, have an influence on the regime. The Burma Campaign points out there is no global UN arms embargo on Burma, now would be a good time to push for one, after all the junta claim to be in favour of democracy, why do they need so many machine guns?