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Suu Kyi lawyers to argue witness appeal

world Updated: Jun 05, 2009 12:45 IST
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Lawyers for Myanmar’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were on Friday to challenge a ruling over the witnesses who can testify on her behalf, a move that will likely further delay any verdict in her trial.

The Nobel laureate’s lawyers were to appear in a Yangon divisional court at 3:00 pm (0830 GMT) to argue that three of the four defence witnesses barred from testifying at her closed-door prison trial should be allowed to appear.

Aung San Suu Kyi faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching the conditions of her house arrest after a bizarre incident in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside home in May.

Earlier Friday, she appeared in the court at Yangon’s Insein prison, where her trial was formally adjourned for a week so the appeal can be heard.

A Myanmar prison court officially adjourned the trial of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, delaying the hearing for a week to hear her lawyers’ appeal over the number of witnesses she can call.

“The court gave us another appointment on June 12,” one of her lawyers and the spokesman for her National League for Democracy party, Nyan Win, told AFP.

Nyan Win said final arguments in the case would likely not be presented at the June 12 hearing, meaning a verdict would be further delayed.

Myanmar’s ruling junta has already kept Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for 13 of the last 19 years and the latest attempt to lock her up has provoked international outrage.

US President Barack Obama has described the proceedings inside Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison as a “show trial” while Myanmar’s usually reticent Asian neighbours have expressed strong concerns.

The prosecution have presented 14 witnesses, mostly policemen, and Aung San Suu Kyi’s defence team have said this shows the military regime’s case against her is one-sided.

The three barred witnesses were Win Tin, a dissident journalist who was Myanmar’s longest serving prisoner until his release in September; Tin Oo, the detained deputy leader of her party; and lawyer Khin Moe Moe.

Myanmar was formerly known as Burma and has been ruled by the military since 1962.