Accept appeal against detention, Suu Kyi tells court

Monday, December 21, 2009

YANGON - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team Monday asked the Supreme Court to accept her appeal against an 18-month sentence of house detention that would make it impossible for the democracy icon to participate in next year’s planned election.

“My client Daw (Madame) Aung San Suu Kyi is not guilty,” Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi’s attorneys, said before he entered the court.

On Aug 11, a special court set up in Yangon’s Insein Prison found Suu Kyi, 64, guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest and sentenced her to three years in prison with labour.

The sentence was quickly commuted to 18 months under house detention by Myanmar’s military supremo, Senior General Than Shwe.

Suu Kyi’s lawyers challenged the sentence at Yangon’s Appeals Court, where the verdict was upheld, and Nov 13 registered the appeal at the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the court is to decide whether to accept the case.

The Novel Peace Prize winner was found guilty of allowing American John Yettaw to swim to her house on Yangon’s Inya Lake in May, an act that was ruled a breach of her terms of imprisonment.

Many analysts said Yettaw’s bizarre, uninvited swim to warn Suu Kyi of an assassination attempt he dreamed about was an unexpected gift to the ruling generals because her previous period of detention was about to expire.

Her latest sentence should keep her out of circulation next year when the military plans to hold the first general election since 1990.

Yettaw, 53, was sentenced to seven years in jail but was soon allowed to leave the country.

The US and many Western countries have warned the junta that if the upcoming election is to be seen as credible, Suu Kyi and the country’s other political prisoners should be released beforehand.

Filed under: Court, Immigration, World

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