Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers to submit final appeal

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Lawyers of detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday met with her as part of their preparation to submit a final argument in their appeal to the Supreme Court against her sentence, according to her lawyers.

Kyi Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense team, on Tuesday said he along with fellow Supreme Court Advocate Nyan Win visited the Burmese Nobel Peace laureate at her lakeside villa on Rangoon’s University Avenue and discussed the appeal against her sentence.
“She [Aung San Suu Kyi] is in good health. We discussed our final argument to be submitted to the Supreme Court on January 18th,” Kyi Win explained.

The pro-democracy leader’s lawyers had filed a petition with the Supreme Court over the sentence handed down to her by a District Court last year on charges of violating her previous detention regulations. Aung San Suu Kyi is currently serving an 18 month suspended sentence handed down in August, a sentence halved by special order from Burma’s military Head-of-State Senior General Than Shwe.

Following the verdict, her legal team filed a petition at the Divisional Court, arguing the innocence of the defendant and asking for acquittal. But the Divisional Court upheld the District Court’s decision.

The Supreme Court, currently hearing the appeal, and has set January 18th as the deadline for the defense to submit their final argument.

According to Kyi Win, the Supreme Court could overrule the District Court’s decision and acquit the accused or order a revision of the case. But it can also refuse to consider the appeal and uphold the lower court’s decision.

“We are arguing that Aung San Suu Kyi is innocent and thus should be acquitted,” Kyi Win said.

The Burmese opposition figure was found guilty by the District Court for allegedly allowing an American, John Yettaw, into her house in early May, which amounted to a violation of her detention law.

But the defense counsel is arguing that the charges were based on laws no longer in effect. The charges, according to the defense, were based on the 1947 constitution, which has been defunct since the present military government assumed power in a 1988 military coup.

Several observers, meanwhile, have come out to publicly label the charges a ‘sham’ and pretext to keep the opposition leader under detention and away from the public scene in 2010, as the ruling junta gears up to conduct a general election as part of their seven-step roadmap to democracy.

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