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Court rejects Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The divisional court in Rangoon on Friday rejected the appeal of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, upholding a lower court’s decision that sentenced her to yet another period of detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi, General-Secretary of Burma’s main opposition party – National League for Democracy – was sentenced to three years in August by the northern district court in Rangoon’s Insein prison – though the period of detention was later halved by special order from Senior General Than Shwe.

The Nobel Peace Laureate’s legal team, following the sentencing, filed the petition of appeal at the divisional court – which eventually heard arguments from lawyers on both sides on September 18.

“The court said it upholds the decision of the district court but decided that the 1974 constitution is no longer in effect. It is very absurd,” a source, with access to the court, told Mizzima.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who was charged for breaching her previous terms of detention by ‘harboring’ American John William Yettaw, who swam across a lake and entered into her house in early May, was sentenced by the district court under the 1974 constitution, which defense attorneys argued is no longer in effect.

“It is good that the court acknowledged today that the 1974 constitution is no longer in effect, but it is absurd that the court upholds the verdict of the district court, which is based on that constitution,” the source extrapolated.

During an earlier interview, Nyan Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, said they are ready to file another appeal with the Supreme Court if the divisional court upheld the lower court’s decision.

Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Burma’s independence hero, General Aung San, has been held under some form of detention for 14 of the past 20 years.

Opposition groups contend Burma’s military rulers want to keep her away from the public before and during the scheduled 2010 elections, fearing her popularity among the general populace.

Earlier, the Burmese democracy icon sent a proposal to Than Shwe offering him her willingness in working together to end Western-led sanctions. But critics and observers believe Than Shwe is unlikely to respond to the offer, as he seems paranoid regarding engaging Aung San Suu Kyi.

Meanwhile, the United States earlier in the week announced its new policy on Burma, saying it will directly engage with the Burmese regime in order to promote change – but will maintain existing sanctions until tangible progress is made by the regime toward resolving Burma’s decades-old political stand-off.

Last Updated ( Friday, 02 October 2009 13:35 )  

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