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Rejection of Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal ‘legally flawed’: Defence lawyer

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer on Friday said the Rangoon division court’s decision to reject the appeal against her sentence is “legally flawed” as the court arrived at its verdict on a constitution that it acknowledges being non-existent.

Kyi Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, said the divisional court acknowledged that the 1974 constitution is no longer in effect, but said the 1975 law, which is based on the constitution, is still in effect and under which the lower court’s verdict on August 11 is legally binding.

“It is a serious legal fraud. If the constitution is no longer in effect, the law based on that constitution cannot be alive, and thus Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be detained,” Kyi Win told Mizzima on Friday.

According to the law enacted in 1975, Aung San Suu Kyi had been deprived of her fundamental rights, which are stated in the 1974 constitution.

The district court in Rangoon’s Insein prison on August 11 sentenced the Nobel Peace Laureate to three years, on charges of violating her detention regulations, which is prescribed in the 1975 law.

Despite the argument by defence lawyers that the 1974 constitution is no longer in vogue, the district court did not acknowledge it and handed down the verdict, Kyi Win said.

Following the sentence, the defence team appealed to the divisional court, citing mainly that Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be sentenced and must be acquitted as the law, under which she was charged is no longer in effect.

“It is bizarre. I am a high court lawyer and I have also served as a judge but I do not understand how the 1975 law can restrict the fundamental rights prescribed in the 1974 constitution, which is no longer in effect,” Kyi Win said.

He added that the defence will continue appealing to the high court and will focus on the flaws of interpreting the law and the constitution.

After independence from the British, Burma had its first constitution in 1947, but following a military coup led by General Newin in 1962, the constitution was scrapped. Under the Newin regime, a new constitution was drafted and approved in 1974. But in 1975, the Newin regime promulgated a set of laws based on the constitution.

“The division court’s argument is that though the 1974 constitution is dead, Aung San Suu Kyi is charged with the 1975 law,” said Kyi Win.

Last Updated ( Friday, 02 October 2009 20:29 )  

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