Monday, 18 May 2009

Burmese opposition leader says she did not violate house arrest

Mrs Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest Photo: AFP/GETTY
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, will deny any wrongdoing when she goes on trial on Monday for allegedly breaking the terms of her house arrest.

By Thomas Bell
South East Asia Correspondent
17 May 2009

Mrs Suu Kyi, 63, faces up to five years in jail after an American man swam across a lake to reach the house where she has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest.

"She asked me to tell her friends and everyone that she is quite well," her lawyer, Kyi Win, after meeting her on Saturday. "She is ready to tell the truth that she never broke the law."

According to the lawyer, Mrs Suu Kyi demanded that John Yettaw, 53, leave her home when he appeared there uninvited earlier this month but eventually took pity on him and allowed him to rest. He was detected and arrested as he swam away again two days later.

Last week Mrs Suu Kyi was transferred from her home to Rangoon's Insein prison.

Mr Yettaw appears to be an eccentric acting at his own initiative but his actions handed Burma's ruling junta a pretext to prosecute Mrs Suu Kyi.

Mrs Suu Kyi's current term of detention was due to expire later this month but analysts say the military regime, which has ruled since 1962, is determined to keep her in detention ahead of elections planned for next year.

Mrs Suu Kyi won a sweeping election victory in 1990 but the generals ignored the result and jailed her. Next year's polls have been widely dismissed as a sham.

No comments: