The trial of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi entered its final stage on Friday as her lawyers delivered closing arguments in a bid to save her from five years in jail, her party said.
The detained Nobel Peace laureate, 64, faces charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest over a bizarre incident in which John Yettaw, an American man who swam uninvited to her lakeside home.
The trial resumed following weeks of delays and international condemnation, with critics saying the ruling junta was using the charges as an excuse to keep Suu Kyi locked up for elections next year.
Security was tight near the jail and most of the trial has been held behind closed doors, officials said. Diplomats from the embassies of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Norway were permitted to attend today.
Emmanuel Mouriez, the top advisor at the French Embassy in Rangoon, told FRANCE 24 that the defence team had started giving closing statements to the court at the Insein jail and would return on Monday.
Mouriez explained that Suu Kyi’s lawyers had highlighted the fact that she “had been arrested without any judicial basis” and charged under a constitution that expired more than two decades ago.
He added that “her lawyers are also emphasizing that Suu Kyi’s guards, appointed by Burmese authorities, should be held responsible for the American’s intrusion…”
The prosecution is saying that she harboured Yettaw, who is also facing trial along with two female assistants to Suu Kyi, and failed to report his presence to authorities.
Her trial began in May, just days before the latest period of her house arrest was due to expire. Suu Kyi has spent most of the past two decades in detention since the junta refused to recognise her party's victory in elections in 1990.
Mourriez told FRANCE 24 that the trial seemed to be accelerating toward its end, but said he preferred not to predict Suu Kyi’s chances of being acquitted.