Myanmar Dissident Verdict on Friday

BANGKOK — Final arguments concluded Tuesday in Myanmar in the trial of the pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and the court announced that it would deliver a verdict Friday, diplomats said.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 64, faces a term of up to five years in prison on charges of violating the terms of her long house arrest when an American intruder swam across a lake and spent two nights at her villa.

After the hearing, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, looking healthy and composed, thanked foreign diplomats who had been permitted to attend five of the sessions since the trial began May 18.

“She said, ‘Thank you for trying to promote a just outcome,’ ” a diplomat said by telephone from Yangon, the main city in Myanmar. Another diplomat said Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi had expressed doubts about such an outcome in the highly political trial.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of their embassies’ policies.

Many analysts say they believe that a guilty verdict has already been determined. They say the trial is intended to keep Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi in custody at least through the parliamentary election expected next year.

It will be the first election since 1990, when an overwhelming victory by Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party was set aside by the ruling military junta as it clung to power.

The trial has drawn condemnation from around the world, with leaders including President Obama demanding Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi faces up to five years in prison for allowing the American to stay at her villa. She responded in court that she had not been aware he was coming and had asked him to leave, but relented when he said he was exhausted and needed shelter.

In a separate case, the intruder, John Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Mo., spoke for 15 minutes in court Tuesday following the conclusion of the case against Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi. He faces at least five years in prison for abetting Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s violation of house arrest, breaking immigration law and violating local ordinances by swimming across the lake.

He has said in court that he acted to save her after having a dream that she would be attacked by terrorists.

The New Light of Myanmar, a government-controlled newspaper, said Tuesday that Mr. Yettaw might have been acting at the behest of unnamed backers.

“The aim of his meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not been known clearly,” it said. “He even left two chadors and dark glasses” as disguises for her.

“Was it aimed at taking her out of the house?” the newspaper asked. “There are many points to ponder.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s