Aung San Suu Kyi, Amnesty International Ambassador 
Conscience Award, Aung San Suu Kyi U2 concert, U2
Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association via AP Images
U2 announce Aung San Suu Kyi is awarded the Amnesty International Ambassador Conscience
award at Croke Park in Dublin, July 27, 2009.

Honored by Amnesty International, Suu Kyi Awaits a Verdict

July 28, 2009 01:00 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A verdict in the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma is expected Friday, as supporters continue rallying around the detained opposition leader.

International Encouragement Has Not Waned

If convicted of "violating the terms of her house arrest," Suu Kyi could serve five years behind bars, the BBC reported. Aung San Suu Kyi, the would-be leader of Myanmar, is on trial for the issue of whether an American man, John William Yettaw, 53, caused her to violate her house arrest by swimming to her house and spending two days in her home. For now she is being held in prison while hundreds of supporters continue to gather outside. And although "a guilty verdict is expected," there have been some small, positive signs, according to the BBC.

The fact that "[d]iplomats from Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the US were allowed to attend the trial in its closing stages" signals the Burmese government's recognition, albeit late, of "the level of international anger" over the charges against Suu Kyi.

In addition, the international human rights group Amnesty International has named Suu Kyi an "Ambassador of Conscience," the organization's greatest honor, granted "for her efforts to promote democracy," the BBC explained.

The award was announced in Dublin by Irish band U2, "long-time supporters" of the detained leader. Czech leader Vaclav Havel, who was granted the "Ambassador of Conscience" award in 2003, attended the ceremony and spoke about the importance of extending awareness of Suu Kyi's situation, according to an Amnesty International press release.

"I know from my own experience that international attention can, to a certain extent, protect the unjustly persecuted from punishments that would otherwise be imposed," Havel said.

Video Footage of Ambassador of Conscience 2009

Watch an Amnesty International video titled "Aung San Suu Kyi: Her Burma" on the U2 Web site. Her father, a human rights advocate, was assassinated when she was just 2 years old, and her supporters are often beaten to death by the Burmese government, the video reveals. Despite this, Suu Kyi is a symbol of hope for democracy.

Listen to Bono of U2 announce the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 to Aung San Suu Kyi in a video presentation on the U2 Web site. In his speech, Bono compares Suu Kyi to Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, before a massive crowd of supporters in Dublin.

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