Lawyers for detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said they would file an appeal Thursday against the criminal conviction that put her under house arrest for 18 more months.
A district court ruled on Aug. 11 that the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate was guilty of violating the terms of her earlier detention after an uninvited American visitor stayed at her home. The court sentenced her to three years in prison with hard labor, but that was reduced to 18 months of house arrest by order of military junta chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe.
Suu Kyi's main lawyer, Kyi Win, said the appeal would be submitted to the Divisional Court in Yangon.
The lawyers were seen entering the courthouse Thursday, according to witnesses who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of official reprisal. The lawyers could not be reached immediately to confirm whether the appeal had been filed.
Suu Kyi earlier described the conviction as unfair and the court's assessment of the case as unjust.
The appeal argues that the law cited by authorities is invalid because it applies to a constitution abolished two decades ago, Kyi Win said.
Following the submission, the court will give a date for arguments to consider whether it will accept the appeal, Kyi Win said.
"I believe the court will accept our appeal and allow the right of appeal to our client," he said, adding that the defense team will separately appeal the convictions of two female companions who live with Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi and her two companions returned to her tightly guarded home the day she was convicted. She has been detained for about 14 of the past 20 years for her nonviolent political activities, but this was the first time she faced criminal charges. The American, John Yettaw, was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released on humanitarian grounds and deported on Aug. 16.
Suu Kyi's sentence ensures she cannot participate in elections scheduled for next year. Her party swept the last elections in 1990 but the results were never honored by the military, which has ruled the country since 1962.