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Opposition leader Suu Kyi allowed to meet her lawyer

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Latest update : 2008-08-11

Aung San Suu Kyi - the leading figure of opposition to Burma's military junta - has been allowed to meet her lawyer, for the first time in four years, to discuss her house arrest, according to her party.

Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed a rare meeting with her lawyer to discuss her ongoing house arrest, a spokesman for her party said Sunday.

"Last Friday (August 8), The Lady met with her lawyer U Kyi Win from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm regarding her detention," said Nyan Win, National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman, referring to Aung San Suu Kyi.

"This is the first such meeting since 2004," he told AFP.

The surprise meeting at her lakeside Yangon home came a day after the new United Nations human rights envoy for Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana left the country after his first visit.

Aung San Suu Kyi is known as "The Lady" throughout Myanmar, where she remains a potent symbol of the struggle to end military rule, despite being under house arrest for most of the past 19 years.

Nyan Win said he did not have any details of what was discussed at the meeting with her lawyer, although the NLD has lodged an appeal against the recent one-year extension of their leader's house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi was first arrested in July 1989, and has been allowed only a few brief years of freedom since. She remains isolated most of the time, with only occasional visits from her doctor.

The Nobel peace prize winner's most recent spell under house arrest began in 2003, and the May extension sparked outcry from the UN and most Western governments.

Legal experts say that under Myanmar law a citizen can only be held for five consecutive years. The NLD has not yet received a reply to its appeal.

On leaving Myanmar on Thursday, Quintana said he had received "good signs" that the ruling junta accepted the need for his mandate to investigate widespread claims of abuses in the country.

He met NLD members, but was not allowed an audience with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962, despite a 1990 election in which Aung San Suu Kyi led her NLD to an overwhelming victory -- a result the junta never recognised.

Date created : 2008-08-10

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