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Defense counsels optimistic of Suu Kyi’s release

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Lawyers of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed optimism of her acquittal after the Supreme Court on Monday heard their final arguments on the petition against the extended sentenced of their client.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team on Monday argued that the extended sentence is unlawful as it is based on provisions of the 1974 constitution, which is no longer in effect.

The Burmese pro-democracy leader was sentenced to 18 months house arrest by a district court which found her guilty of violating her previous detention law by allowing an American to stay at her lakeside house for two nights in early May of last year.

Kyi Win, a member of the defense team, said provisions of the 1974 constitution cannot be used as a basis for charges against his client as they were been nullified by current junta leader Senior General Than Shwe when he signed the 2008 constitution.

“We have on our side Senior General Than Shwe’s signature on the 2008 constitution. We are very hopeful. And we also believe that the court will uphold the rule of law,” Kyi Win added.

“We have a strong legal standpoint. So, in a strict legal sense, Aung San Suu Kyi has to be released,” expressed Nyan Win, another member of the defense team.

While final arguments for the appeal have been heard, a decision could take as long as two weeks to reach, according to the defense counsels.

The appeal also seeks the release of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party mates, Khin Khin Win and her daughter Win Ma Ma, who live with her as her sole companions. 

In August, Rangoon’s Northern District court handed down a three-year sentence to Aung San Suu Kyi and her two live-in party mates for allowing an American to stay at her house for two nights. But a special order issued by Senior General Than Shwe halved the sentence and allowed her to serve the time at her home.

While the defense team argues that the sentence is unlawful as it is based on 1975 law, which in turn is based on the now defunct 1974 constitution, the prosecution contends that although the 1974 constitution is no longer in use, provisions of 1975 laws are still in effect.

The Burmese pro-democracy leader has been under some form of detention for more than 14 of the past 19 years. 

Last Updated ( Monday, 18 January 2010 20:48 )  

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