Jun 6, 2009

Suu Kyi’s trial delayed a week

The trial of Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for allegedly violating conditions of her house arrest was delayed for a week over efforts to reinstate three defense witnesses, one of her lawyers said Friday.

Suu Kyi’s trial was adjourned until June 12 while a higher court hears a request by her attorneys to reinstate the defense witnesses who were earlier barred from testifying at her trial, lawyer Nyan Win said. The decision on those witnesses was expected later Friday.

The lower District Court earlier disqualified all but one defense witness—legal expert Kyi Win. Those rejected were all members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

They include prominent journalist and former political prisoner Win Tin, the party’s vice chairman Tin Oo, currently under house arrest, and lawyer Khin Moe Moe.

“The next session will be coming (next) Friday, but there won’t be final arguments that day,” Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi was detained last month after American John W. Yettaw swam to her lakeside home without her consent and stayed for two days. Yettaw, a part-time contractor from Falcon, Missouri, claims he had a dream that Suu Kyi would be assassinated and he went to warn her.

Suu Kyi has pleaded not guilty. Her defense team acknowledges that the 53-year-old Yettaw swam to her lakeside home, but they argue it was the duty of government guards outside her closely watched house to prevent intruders.

Both Yettaw and the Nobel Peace laureate could face up to five years in jail.

The trial has drawn condemnation from the international community and Suu Kyi’s local supporters, who worry the junta has found an excuse to keep her detained through elections planned for next year.

Suu Kyi, 63, has already been held in detention for 13 of the past 19 years, including the past six.