Thu 25 Feb 2010
Filed under: Inside Burma
Burma’s Supreme Court is excepted to rule on detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against an 18-month extension to her house arrest today.The 64-year-old Suu Kyi had her detention extended in August after being convicted over a bizarre incident in which an American man swam to her house, while a lower court rejected an initial appeal in October.
The court will issue its verdict at 10am, said a notice posted outside the court building in Yangon on Thursday.
If the Supreme Court turns down her case, Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi can make a final appeal to Burma’s chief justice.
She has already spent most of the last 20 years in jail or under house arrest.
“I just heard about the court notice. I do not want to guess what the Supreme Court’s verdict will be, but she is clearly not guilty,” said Nyan Win, one of her lawyers and the spokesman for her National League for Democracy.
During a meeting on Wednesday, Nyan Win said that Suu Kyi had jokingly asked if he thought she had behaved well enough to be released early by Burma’s ruling junta.
But she has previously dismissed comments by Home Affairs Minister Maung Oo, who reportedly said she would be released in November, as “unfair” in preempting any court decision.
The NLD won elections in 1990 by a landslide but the military government never allowed it to take power.
The junta has promised to hold elections some time this year but has refused to so far set a date and critics say they are aimed at simply entrenching the generals’ power.
Suu Kyi is effectively barred from standing in the promised polls and a quarter of the parliamentary seats up for grabs are reserved for the military.
She has said it is too early for her party to decide whether to participate in the elections while freedome of expression remains elusive.
At least 2,100 other political prisoners remain behind bars in Burma, according to UN figures.
The verdict comes a week after UN human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana visited the country, saying as he departed that he “deeply regretted” being refused access to Suu Kyi during his five-day trip.
Burma’s government has given out mixed signals ahead of the polls, in mid-February releasing deputy NLD leader Tin Oo after seven years, but days later jailing a US activist for three years.
The administration of US President Barack Obama has been pursuing greater engagement with the Burma regime after deciding that sanctions alone were not working.
Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962.