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U.N. responds to Suu Kyi's sentencing

  |   Aug. 13, 2009 at 11:25 PM
NEW YORK, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council expressed "serious concern" over Myanmar military court's ruling extending the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The council's response Thursday came as the rest of the world expressed shock and condemned this week's ruling extending the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner's house arrest by another 18 months and called for tougher sanctions against Myanmar's militant junta.

The BBC reported the U.N. statement, which came after two days of debate, had been watered down from the original draft largely because of China, a close friend of Myanmar's military junta. The report said China, along with Russia, has blocked strongly-worded condemnations in the past.

"The members of the Security Council express serious concern at the conviction and sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and its political impact," British Ambassador John Sawers said in a statement Thursday, U.N. News reported. Britain holds the Security Council's rotating presidency this month.

Suu Kyri has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest. The Security Council also called for the release of all political prisoners in Myanmar, formerly called Burma.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had earlier "deplored the decision by the Myanmar court and urged that Suu Kyi be released immediately and unconditionally," U.N. News said.

CNN reported the European Union adopted additional sanctions against Myanmar.

The actions will include adding Myanmar's judiciary, responsible for Suu Kyi's conviction, to a list of people and entities subject to a travel ban and freeze on assets.

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