Suu Kyi turns 64 in Myanmar jail

Supporters call for opposition leader's release and condemn trial.

    Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday is being
    celebrated across the world [AFP]

    But the day has taken on added significance this year amid international outrage over her trial, which is widely expected to end with a guilty verdict.

    In Yangon, members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) will gather at the party's dilapidated headquarters to release doves and call for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners and a meaningful transition to democracy.

    Protests are also planned outside Myanmar's embassies in major capitals around the world.

    An online campaign, www.64forsuu.org, drew thousands of messages of support, including good wishes from world leaders and celebrities.

    'Inspiring figure'

    In depth


     Profile: Suu Kyi's uninvited guest
     Interview: Suu Kyi's US lawyer
     Asean criticised over Myanmar
     Video: Suu Kyi faces years in jail
     Video: Charges 'a ploy'
     Profile: Aung San Suu Kyi

    "Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration to her country and the rest of the world," wrote former Beatle Paul McCartney. "I truly admire her infallible resolve and her determination to stand up for what she believes in."

    Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of breaking the terms of her house arrest by allowing an American intruder, John Yettaw, to stay for two days after he swam to her Yangon home in early May.

    She says the trial, set to resume on June 26, is politically motivated to exclude her from next year's elections promised by the military government as a step towards democracy but derided by critics as a sham to entrench military rule.

    In London, Ivan Lewis, the British foreign office minister, said Aung San Suu Kyi was being tried on "ridiculous and bogus trumped-up charges".

    He said the European Union would consider further sanctions against Myanmar after the end of her trial.

    Myanmar's high court agreed this week to hear arguments from Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers to reinstate two banned defence witnesses.

    But even if the ban is overturned, it is not likely to have any impact.

    Mark Canning, Britain's ambassador to Myanmar, told Reuters that there was no doubt she would be found guilty and that she would probably be sentenced to a further period of house arrest, rather than prison.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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