Trial of Myanmar Rights Leader Nears End

28myanmar.190BANGKOK — The prosecution in Myanmar concluded its final arguments on Monday in the trial of the jailed pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her lawyer said.
The lawyer, U Nyan Win, said the defense would respond to those arguments on Tuesday, concluding a case that has drawn international condemnation since it opened May 18. No date has been set for a verdict, Mr. Nyan Win said by telephone from Myanmar’s main city, Yangon.

Further hearings are continuing in the case of John Yettaw, the American whose two-day intrusion in early May at the villa of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi was the cause of her trial. She faces a possible five-year prison term on a charge of violating the terms of her house arrest, which has been in place for 14 of the last 19 years.

Mr. Yettaw faces a similar term on immigration charges and on a charge of violating city ordinances for swimming across a lake to her house. Two women who live with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi are also on trial on charges similar to those brought against her.

Adding its voice to international condemnation of the military junta in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, Amnesty International awarded its highest honor on Monday to Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, 64, naming her this year’s “Ambassador of Conscience.”

The recognition, on the 20th anniversary of her original arrest, adds to other awards Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi has received, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

“In those long and often dark years, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has remained a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defense of human rights, not only to the people of Myanmar but to people around the world,” Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said in announcing the award.

Many analysts say the trial is a pretext for extending her house arrest, at least through what is expected to be a tightly controlled parliamentary election next year.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won the last parliamentary election, in 1990, but was prevented from taking office as the country’s military rulers clung to power. Many of the party’s winning candidates have since been imprisoned.

The defense has not contested the facts of the case, but argues that Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi did not break any relevant laws. Her lawyers say she allowed Mr. Yettaw to spend two nights at her house because he pleaded that he was hungry and tired after his swim. He was arrested after swimming back across the lake.

On the day after her latest arrest, President Obama ordered a one-year extension of a package of economic sanctions against the military junta, initially imposed in response to its human rights violations. The United States had said it was reviewing its policy of sanctions before the announcement.

Despite condemnation from abroad, there has been very little public protest within Myanmar. Reporters on the scene said security had been tightened outside Insein Prison, where the trial was being held and where Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi was being detained.

The trial has been mostly closed to the public. But on four occasions, a few diplomats have been allowed inside the courtroom, including part of Monday, according to reports from Myanmar.


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