Court to rule on Suu Kyi witnesses

Opposition leader's lawyers say court ban on defence witnesses is illegal.

    Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters say the trial has been trumped up by the military government [Reuters]

    Judges in the Yangon lower district court, which is presiding over her closed-door trial, had disqualified all but one of the witnesses called by the defence.

    The three witnesses barred from testifying are all members of the NLD.

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    They include Win Tin, a prominent journalist and former political prisoner; Tin Oo, the NLD's vice chairman who is currently under house arrest; and lawyer Khin Moe Moe.

    Aung San Suu Kyi is widely expected to be found guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest over the visit of an American man, John Yettaw, to her house.

    The 63-year-old opposition leader's legal team and members of her party say Yettaw's visit was uninvited and she only agreed to let him stay after he pleaded with her that he was unwell.

    Yettaw allegedly swam to her lakeside home on two occasions, sneaking past tight security that surrounds the compound.

    He was arrested in May after trying to swim back across the lake from his second visit.

    Yettaw and two women members of the NLD who live with Aung San Suu Kyi are being tried with her on the same charge.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained in jail or under house arrest for more than 13 of the past 19 years.

    The trial has drawn outrage from the international community and her supporters, who say the military government is using the case as an excuse to keep her detained during elections planned for next year.

    The NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won Myanmar's last elections in 1990 but was not allowed to take power by the military, which ignored the result.

    Critics of the government say the vote planned for 2010 is a sham designed only to cement the military's continued hold on power with a veneer of democracy.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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