U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Tuesday for the release of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying she "should not have been convicted" on a charge of violating house arrest.
Suu Kyi, the 64-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, has been in detention in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for 14 of the last 20 years, mostly under house arrest. She has now been ordered to serve an 18-month sentence for allowing an uninvited American to stay at her home.
"She should not have been tried. She should not have been convicted," Clinton told a news conference here. "We continue to call for her release."
Clinton said the United States is also concerned about the seven-year sentence imposed on the American, John Yettaw, who suffers from medical problems.
"We also call for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners including the American, John Yettaw," she said. "We are concerned about the harsh sentence imposed on him especially in light of his medical condition."
Monday's ruling by the head of the military-run country drew criticism from world leaders. Suu Kyi's trial has sparked international outrage and calls for her release and that of Myanmar's more than 2,000 other political prisoners.
Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Mo., swam across a lake, entered Suu Kyi's home uninvited and asked to spend two nights before trying to secretly swim back. He told his lawyer that he swam to Suu Kyi's residence to warn her of an assassination attempt that he had seen in a vision.
The court sentenced him to three years in prison for breaching Suu Kyi's house arrest, three years in prison for an immigration violation and to another year for swimming in a restricted zone.
Yettaw was hospitalized last Monday after suffering seizures. He reportedly suffers from epilepsy, diabetes and other health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder from his service in the U.S. military.