updated 8/11/2009 4:01:06 PM ET 2009-08-11T20:01:06

President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned the conviction of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying Myanmar's military-run government has violated the universal principle of human rights.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

The Nobel Peace laureate was convicted by a court in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for violating her house arrest by allowing an uninvited American to stay at her home.

Obama called for Suu Kyi's immediate release and said her case is a reminder of other political prisoners in Myanmar who are denied liberty for pushing for a government that respects the will of its people.

"Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away," Obama said in a statement.

Suu Kyi was ordered to serve an 18-month sentence under house arrest. The extension will remove her from the political scene when the junta stages elections next year. She has already spent 14 of the last 20 years in detention, mostly under house arrest. The intruder, 53-year-old John Yettaw, received a stretch of seven years with hard labor.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that Myanmar's generals are "afraid of a 64-year-old woman who probably weighs barely 100 pounds. But what she represents is an idea: that this is government by the people and on behalf of the people, rather than government by the few, for the benefit of the few."

He said there is "an opportunity for a different kind of relationship" between Myanmar and the United States, "and clearly we feel this is a step in the wrong direction."

Crowley called the seven-year sentence given to Yettaw cruel and excessive. "We remain greatly concerned about his health and the harsh sentence imposed upon him," Crowley said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Suu Kyi should never have been put on trial and called for all political prisoners in Myanmar — a group she said Yettaw falls into — to be released.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments