In May, an American national, John Yettaw swam into the house of Aung San Suu Kyi and was caught by the military guarding her compound. Aung San Suu Kyi was subsequently detained in Insein Prison while waiting for trial for “breaking the terms of her house arrest”. Before the trial, Attorney Aung Thein was disbarred for previous counts of “contempt of court” and representing other activists. During the trial, the Burmese government arrested people who prayed for Aung San Suu Kyi. The court also refused to call witnesses from National League for Democracy (NLD), of which Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader. These showed the inclinations of the court to issue ruling in accordance with government order. On 11 August, Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced three years imprisonment with hard labor. The continually extended house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi is legally groundless. The SPDC utilizes this ruling to send warning to the opposition regarding the upcoming 2010 general election.
Despite the fact that Than Shwe, the Burmese leader, has signed a special order, commuted the sentence to 18-month house arrest, national leaders and civil organizations around the world express their disappointment for this ruling. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon deplores this ruling and calls on the Burmese government to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he is saddened and angry and decries the ruling as political sentence. The French President also calls on the European Union to institute sanctions against Burma. Sweden, currently holding EU Presidency, declares its intention to adopt stricter measure against individuals responsible for this ruling. German Vice-Chancellor and Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier views the trial as a farce. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges the Burmese government to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and John Yettaw. Despite the fact that her house arrest expired on 27 May, the Burmese government uses this trial to extend her house arrest. This has caused governments in Asia, including ASEAN member Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia, to issue statements expressing condemnation.
Taiwan Free Burma Network (TFBN), an alliance formed by Taiwan civil society organizations, through this joint statement, urges the Burmese government to immediately and unconditionally release Aung San Suu Kyi, and invalidate the special order for house arrest. Taiwan Free Burma Network (TFBN) also urges UN Security Council to include Burma on its agenda as well as ASEAN to discuss democratization in Burma during the upcoming Summit and to assist the newly established ASEAN Human Rights Body to carry out its mandate.
Taiwan Civil Society will continue to join Mask Campaign in collaboration with Burma Partnership (BP), paying close attention to the conditions of more than 2,000 political prisoners. Taiwan Free Burma Network (TFBN) urges Taiwanese government to express condemnation concerning this ruling, as it did during the Saffron Revolution in 2007. Other countries in the region, especially China and India, are encouraged to exert their influence on the Burmese government to assist democratization in Burma.