Sole Suu Kyi witness testifies

Judges adjourn trial of Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader.

    Nyan Win, centre, said judges had barred all but one of the defence witnesses from testifying [AFP]

    "The government had a list of 23 witnesses and they questioned 14, while Daw Aung San Suu Kyi showed four and only one will be heard," Nyan Win, an NLD spokesman and a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's defence team, said.

    "So you can see whether it [the trial] is balanced or not."

    'One-sided' trial

    Aung San Suu Kyi, who turns 64 next month, has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention.

    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

    Authorities earlier lifted her latest six-year period of house arrest but she remains in jail pending the court verdict.

    On Thursday in a statement carried by state media Myanmar's foreign ministry defended the closed trial, described by Aung San Suu Kyi as "one-sided", saying it had been carried out within the framework of the law.

    "Legal action in accordance with the law has been taken unavoidably," the government mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar newspaper quoted the ministry as saying.

    "Such action will not have any political impact and, thus, in accordance with law will be considered and carried out as the task relating to the rule of law."

    The statement also said the government was continuing with its "roadmap" to democracy, culminating in elections in 2010.

    Critics have derided the planned vote as a sham designed to entrench the power of the generals.

    Continuing outrage

    Meanwhile, the international community continued to voice its outrage over the trial.

    "[The issue of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners]... affects Asean's image and Asean's collective interests"

    Surin Pitsuwan, Asean secretary-general

    In an informal meeting on Wednesday ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) confronted Myanmar on its treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

    The rare rebuke was a move away from the bloc's traditional policy of non-interference in members' internal affairs.

    "The discussion in the room back there was that it [the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners] ... affects Asean's image and Asean's collective interests," Surin Pitsuwan, the group's secretary-general, said.

    Earlier in the week Barack Obama, the US president, said Aung San Suu Kyi was the victim of a spurious "show trial", and urged the military rulers to free her immediately and unconditionally.

    Security lapses

    Aung San Suu Kyi has blamed the authorities for security lapses that saw John Yettaw, a US citizen, reach her lakeside house both in November and again earlier this month.

    The trial is seen as a pretext to continue
    Suu Kyi's detention [GALLO/GETTY]
    "The basic reason for this case is a security failure or security breakdown," she said in a statement filed in court on Tuesday.

    "No action was taken regarding security but it was me who was charged, which is one-sided."

    Yettaw, 53, a devout Mormon and Vietnam war veteran, who testified for the first time on Wednesday said he was ordered by God to swim to Aung San Suu Kyi's house after having a dream about her.

    "He said the reason he came was in his vision he saw that Aung San Suu Kyi was assassinated by terrorists," Nyan Win, her lawyer, said.

    "Because of his vision, he came here to warn Aung San Suu Kyi and also the government."

    The military government, which overrode the NLD's overwhelming election victory in 1990, has been ruling Myanmar since 1962.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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