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Asia-pacific

Suu Kyi trial to resume, diplomats reportedly allowed to attend

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-24

The Burmese junta's trial on security-related charges of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was due to resume at 0730 GMT on Friday, with a Reuters source reporting that diplomats could be allowed to attend.

Reuters - The trial on security-related charges of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was due to resume on Friday, with no indications from the country's military regime that it would heed international calls to free her.
 
At an Asia-Pacific security forum on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered Myanmar the prospect  of better relations with the United States, but said that depended in part on the fate of Suu Kyi.
 
Asked if Clinton's comments would have any impact on the regime's attitude towards the case and the political situation in general, one of her lawyers, Nyan Win, told reporters on Friday: "I don't think so. As for her, she is preparing for the worst."
 
Her legal team was allowed to see her on Thursday to prepare final arguments after being denied access on Wednesday.
 
Recent hearings in the trial have been held behind closed doors in Yangon's Insein Prison, but a European embassy source said diplomats had been told by the authorities to report to the prison on Friday, and they assumed they would be allowed in.
 
The hearing is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (0730 GMT). Lawyers are not expecting a verdict on Friday.
 
Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 64, faces five years in prison if found guilty of breaking a draconian security law that protects the state from "subversive elements".
 
There has been no official response to Clinton's comments this week but state media, seen as a mouthpiece for the junta, have shown no sign of compromise on the subject of Suu Kyi.
 
Rights groups say there are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Myanmar but a commentary carried by three state controlled newspapers on Thursday described them as common criminals, guilty of undermining stability.
 
"Daw Suu Kyi, like them, is not a political prisoner, but the person who is on trial for breaching an existing law," it said.

Elections

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also urged junta leader Than Shwe to release Suu Kyi during a two-day visit to Myanmar this month, but he was not allowed to see her.
 

Critics of the military regime see the trial as a trumped-up affair to keep Suu Kyi out of the way until after elections scheduled for next year.
 
Her National League for Democracy (NLD) won the country's last general election by a landslide in 1990, but was denied the chance to rule by the military.
 
She is currently being held in a guest house inside Insein Prison and has spent 14 of the past 20 years in some form of detention, mostly under house arrest
 
Her trial stems from a bizarre incident in which an American intruder stayed for two days at her lakeside home in Yangon in May after swimming across the lake. He had not been invited, but the authorities said his presence was a breach of the terms of her house arrest.
 
The American, John Yettaw, and two of Suu Kyi's housemaids have been charged under the same law -- legislation her legal team says should not be applied because it is obsolete.

Date created : 2009-07-24

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