Aung San Suu Kyi to appeal verdict: lawyers


Yangon : Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has agreed to appeal a recent court decision that put her under house detention for the next 18 months, her attorneys said Thursday.

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“We will file the appeal to the Divisional Court for Daw [Madame] Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday or Tuesday next week,” Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi’s three lawyers, said after meeting with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to discuss her appeal.

Suu Kyi, 64, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years under detention, has also requested that authorities allow her personal doctor Tin Myo Win to be allowed to visit her regularly for check-ups as was permitted under the previous rules of her detention.

A special court set up in Yangon’s Insein Prison Aug 11 found Suu Kyi guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest and sentenced her to three years in prison.

The sentence was quickly commuted to 18 months under house detention by Myanmar’s military supremo, Senior General Than Shwe.

Suu Kyi was found guilty of allowing US national John William Yettaw to swim to her lakeside home-cum-prison on May 3, where he stayed uninvited until May 5, to warn her of an assassination attempt he had envisioned.

The bizarre escapade provided a pretext for Myanmar’s military regime to accuse Suu Kyi of violating the terms of her detention and to keep her out of the political picture for the next 18 months while it prepares for a general election next year.

Yettaw, 54, was sentenced to seven years in prison but was freed on August 16 at the request of visiting US Senator Jim Webb, chairman of the US Senate’s East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee.

Webb, in a rare interview with Than Shwe, also requested that Suu Kyi be released but failed to secure the opposition leader’s freedom.

Suu Kyi’s ongoing house detention meant that it was unlikely that her National League for Democracy opposition party, which won the last polls in 1990 but has been denied power for the past 19 years, would participate in next year’s election.

It also dashed hopes that prior to the polls, the regime might open a dialogue with the democracy icon and consider amending the 2008 constitution, which essentially cements the military’s control over any democratically elected government.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962.