Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Suu Kyi court date postponed Nasa News

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Burmese court has agreed to hear an appeal over the number of witnesses Aung San Suu Kyi can call at her trial, meaning that final arguments in the case have been postponed, her lawyer said.

The pro-democracy icon's legal team had challenged a ruling by judges at the internationally condemned trial being held at a notorious Yangon jail, which prevented her from calling three out of four defence witnesses.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for her party, said a higher court would now hear from the government and the defence on the matter on Friday, when closing arguments at the trial were originally due to be heard.

"I think it is a positive sign, if we look at the law," Nyan Win, who is also a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's legal team, told AFP.

"The divisional court accepted our revision (appeal) so both sides have to give statements to the court on Friday at 3pm (0800 GMT). That means the final arguments in the trial are postponed," he added.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest following an incident in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside house in May.

The case has prompted international outrage, with US President Barack Obama calling it a "show trial", while Aung San Suu Kyi has argued that the proceedings are one-sided.

The prosecution was allowed to call 14 witnesses, mainly policemen, while the defence has so far only been allowed to call one legal expert after its other witnesses were ruled out, her lawyers say.

The three barred witnesses were Win Tin, a dissident journalist who was Burma's longest serving prisoner until his release in September; Tin Oo, the detained deputy leader of her party; and lawyer Khin Moe Moe.

Burma's ruling junta has already kept Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for 13 of the last 19 years.

The regime says the case is an internal matter, accusing Aung San Suu Kyi of covering up Yettaw's visit and suggesting that the incident was planned by "internal and external anti-government elements."


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