Thailand sounds out ASEAN on Suu Kyi pardon

BANGKOK, Aug 14 — Thailand said today it was asking neighbouring Asian states to support a request to Myanmar’s junta to pardon opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, back under house arrest after a court conviction this week.

A Myanmar court sentenced the 64-year-old Nobel peace laureate to three years in detention three days ago for violating an internal security law, a sentence then halved by the military government.

The sentence drew condemnation abroad, although criticism from most of Myanmar’s fellow members of the 10-country Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was muted.

“I already sent a letter to ASEAN members, but we need a consensus,” Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters by telephone after talks in Malaysia with his ministerial counterpart.

Along with Thailand and Myanmar, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand currently chairs ASEAN.

The UN Security Council voiced “serious concern” about the sentence in a statement watered down to meet misgivings from Russia and from China, which has reasonably friendly ties with Myanmar’s military leaders.

The charges against Suu Kyi stemmed from US intruder John Yettaw’s two-day uninvited stay at her home in May, which the court ruled was in breach of the terms of her house arrest. — Reuters

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