The sentencing of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi today in Burma sparked fresh condemnations for its military rulers. Now that the government has made clear that it intends to keep the opposition leader in detention through upcoming elections, critics are decrying a lack of democracy and voicing concern stemming from a recent report that Burma may be pursuing nuclear weapons.
Here are the best reactions to Suu Kyi's conviction and the rising danger of the military leadership:
- The Last Straw, says UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown as reported in the New York Times. "Further proof that the military regime in Burma is determined to act with total disregard for accepted standards of the rule of law in defiance of international opinion."
- The Bottom Line, says Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International in The Guardian. "The only acceptable 'concession' is her immediate and unconditional release. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's sentence is outrageous and abominable. It is a slap in the face of the international community."
- Dashed Hopes, says Ashby Jones in the Wall Street Journal. "Somewhere, in a tiny little place inside us which glows with naive but unbridled optimism, we were hoping Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would catch a break during her trial."
- Test for the U.N., says Benjamin Zawacki in the Telegraph. "The question is whether it will be accepted as such by the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Both organisations have a history of seeing any movements in Burma as progress."
- Test for the International Criminal Court, says Andrew Marshall at Time. "This is not as far-fetched as it might initially seem...A precedent for acting on such abuses has been set by the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Darfur."
- Economic Sanctions, says Sean Turnell of Burma Economic Watch in the Wall Street Journal. "The people of Burma are poor, but the regime that oppresses them is not. Changing this equation is the true key to economic development in Burma, and the outcome to which the efforts of the rest of the world should be directed."
- A Ticking Bomb, say the editors of the Washington Times. "Given the reluctance of the international community to take effective action against nuclear proliferators, prospects for a nuclear Burma look good."