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Suu Kyi’s Party Says Myanmar Trial May End in ‘Days’ (Update1)

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Bloomberg.com

Suu Kyi’s Party Says Myanmar Trial May End in ‘Days’ (Update1)

By Daniel Ten Kate and Michael Heath

May 28 (Bloomberg) — Members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party in Myanmar say they expect a verdict in her case within “days” as the regime seeks to wrap up a trial that may see her jailed for five years.

The court will allow only one of four defense witnesses to testify when the trial resumes today, said Nyo Ohn Myint, a Thailand-based spokesman for her National League for Democracy party. Opposition groups say the process is a charade aimed at keeping Suu Kyi in detention during next year’s election.

“The regime wants to end the trial as soon as possible because there are a lot of negatives for the military if it’s prolonged, as international concern is growing,” Nyo Ohn Myint said by telephone today after being briefed on the hearing. “A verdict could come very soon, maybe in the next few days.”

Pro-democracy activists say a guilty verdict is almost inevitable in a country with more than 2,000 political prisoners. The court yesterday refused to allow three defense witnesses to appear, including NLD Vice-Chairman Tin Oo, who was detained in 2003, and senior party member Win Tin.

The court will allow lawyer Kyi Win to address it today.

“The defense wanted to call more witnesses but the judge advised that they only needed a few critical witnesses,” Nyo Ohn Myint said.

Suu Kyi, 63, is accused of violating the terms of her house arrest order by allowing an American intruder to stay for two days after he swam to her lakeside home in the former capital, Yangon, earlier this month.

Charges Not Political

The charges against Suu Kyi aren’t political and were “taken unavoidably,” Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published in the state-run New Light of Myanmar.

The trial “will not have any political impact” and will be carried out in line with “the rule of law,” the statement said. The regime defended its seven-step road map toward “a peaceful, modern and developed democratic nation” that includes elections next year, saying “the future of Myanmar lies in the hands of all of her people.”

Suu Kyi is being tried in Yangon’s Insein prison. She denies the charges and says the regime is responsible for guarding her residence.

The case is “biased” as “no action is taken against those responsible for security,” Suu Kyi said in a written statement to the court released yesterday by the NLD.

Election Anniversary

Yesterday was the anniversary of the NLD’s landslide victory in a 1990 election, a result rejected by the military.

It was also the sixth anniversary of Suu Kyi’s latest period of detention in the nation formerly known as Burma. She has spent a total of 13 of the 19 years since the elections under house arrest or in prison.

Myanmar’s generals, the latest in a line of military rulers over almost 50 years, earlier this week “strongly rejected” a statement from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations calling on them to release Suu Kyi immediately. Myanmar is a member of the 10-nation bloc.

Asean chairman Thailand violated the bloc’s protocol and was “incorrect in facts,” the junta said in a statement published in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at dtenkate@bloomberg.net; Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: May 28, 2009 03:13 EDT

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aJ2UTkSB5Em0&refer=germany

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 28, 2009 at 8:27 am

Posted in World top news

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