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U.N. council 'concerned' about Suu Kyi verdict

Myanmar pro-democracy activists demonstrate during a protest outside the Myanmar embassy in New Delhi August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council voiced “serious concern” on Thursday about a sentence passed on Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in a watered down statement designed to win the consent of China and Russia.

The statement, read to journalists by British Ambassador John Sawers, current president of the council, called for the release of all political prisoners in the Asian country.

A Myanmar court on Tuesday sentenced Suu Kyi, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention, to three years in jail. The ruling junta then reduced the sentence to 18 months of house arrest at her lakeside home in Yangon.

“The members of the Security Council express serious concern at the conviction and sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and its political impact,” the council statement said.