Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Junta postpones trial of Aung San Suu Kyi to June 26

DELAYS An opposition member said that the postponement was expected after Suu Kyi’s lawyers won an appeal to reinstate one witness


The trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was adjourned yesterday for two weeks so that defense lawyers can call an additional witness to testify in the widely watched case, a Myanmar official said.

The District Court trying Suu Kyi informed lawyers of the postponement until June 26 during a brief hearing yesterday at Insein Prison, where the trial is taking place, said the government official who is close to the court. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

No new date has been set for closing arguments, which were originally set for June 1 and delayed repeatedly since then.

Yesterday’s postponement was expected after Suu Kyi’s lawyers won an appeal earlier this week to reinstate one defense witness — Khin Moe Moe, a lawyer and member of the Nobel laureate’s opposition party.

The lawyers have filed a second appeal with the High Court to bring back two other witnesses barred by the lower court presiding over her trial. If accepted, that appeal could prompt more delays.

The District Court trying Suu Kyi had initially barred the three defense witnesses — leaving Suu Kyi with a sole witness.

Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest because an uninvited American man swam secretly to her closely guarded lakeside home last month and stayed two days.

If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison.

The hearing has drawn outrage from the international community and Suu Kyi’s local supporters, who say the military government is using the bizarre incident as an excuse to keep the pro-democracy leader detained through next year’s elections.

The 63-year-old Suu Kyi told her lawyers she believes the case against her is “politically motivated” but that it wouldn’t stop her from continuing her fight for democracy, Nyan Win, one of her lawyers, said on Thursday.

“She said she is engaged in politics due to her political belief and commitment,” Nyan Win said. “She would not be doing politics if she were afraid of the consequences.”

It is widely expected that Suu Kyi will be found guilty because courts in Myanmar are known for handing out harsh sentences to political dissidents.

Suu Kyi’s party won the country’s last elections in 1990 but was not allowed to take power by the military, which has run the country since 1962.

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