EU to toughen Myanmar sanctions if Suu Kyi found guilty: diplomat

(BANGKOK) – A British diplomat Friday said the European Union would likely toughen sanctions on Myanmar’s military regime if pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty at her ongoing trial.

The Nobel peace laureate is being held at a guesthouse on the grounds of Yangon’s notorious Insein prison as her trial on charges of violating her house arrest nears its end after a final witness was heard last week.

Asif Ahmad, Southeast Asia head for the British foreign office, told AFP that diplomats expected Aung San Suu Kyi to be found guilty over the incident in May when an American man swam to her lakeside house uninvited.

He said if that was the case, once any appeal had been exhausted, the EU would slap further measures on the junta to signal its disapproval.

“Financial sanctions have been certainly at the forefront of what we would be doing,” Ahmad said.

“If the final sentence is anything other than her being free… Looser chains are not acceptable, she has to be free,” he said.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention since the junta refused to recognise her National League for Democracy’s (NLD) landslide victory in elections in 1990.

The EU’s current sanctions — in place since 1996 — include a travel ban and the freezing of assets of Myanmar’s leaders and their relatives, as well as a ban on arms exports to the country.

The sanctions also limit diplomatic relations between the Southeast Asian nation and the European bloc.

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi met her lawyers for two hours Friday to discuss final arguments in the court case, and protested at the treatment she said she was receiving at the hands of authorities. She said that, as trespassing is entering by breaking through security and… no action has been taken so far against any security officials, it was one-sided,” her lawyer Nyan Win told AFP, adding however that she did not want any security guards to be targeted.

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