Myanmar's junta said on Tuesday it has the right to extend Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest by six months, adding that it had considered freeing her until an incident in which a US man swam to her house.
Police Brigadier General Myint Thein made the claim in a statement to journalists and diplomats attending her trial at Insein Prison on charges of breaching her detention in connection with the incident.
He rejected claims by her lawyers that on Wednesday would officially mark the end of five years under house arrest for the pro-democracy icon, after which the junta would have had to release her.
Myint Thein insisted that she had been under house arrest for four years and six months, "so according to the law, the (authorities) can restrict her another six months to reach five years with the permission of the government."
"Because Aung San Suu Kyi was the daughter of state leader General Aung San, we gave deep consideration (to the issue of ending her house arrest)," he said referring to independence leader Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947.
"But Aung San Suu Kyi unexpectedly allowed the US citizen Mr John William Yettaw, who illegally entered her house, to stay for two days and communicated with him and gave him food and assistance," Myint Thein said.
"So within the existing laws, she was regretfully, inevitably charged."