Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Burma SC to hear Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal

Judges at the Supreme Court after delibartions and arguments by lawyers on both sides, announced they would hear Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal against the 18-month suspended sentence. “The court will hear the appeal. Today’s session was attended by Daw Suu and her live-in colleagues Daw Win Ma Ma and her daughter. The prosecutors were also present,” Nyan Win, one of Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, told Mizzima. But the court has not set any date for the hearing, Nyan Win added. Lawyers of the Nobel Peace Laureate were optimistic about the court’s decision saying it is allowing them to legally argue in court. Amidst rumours of the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi circulating in Burma’s former capital Rangoon, the high court on Monday accepted an appeal by her lawyers regarding the sentence. Lawyers of the Burmese democracy icon argue that the district court cannot sentence Aung San Suu Kyi on the law based on the 1974 constitution, as the constitution is no longer valid. But prosecutors said, though the 1974 constitution is defunct, the district court’s verdict was legally binding as it is a statute made in 1975, which they said was a separate statute not attached to the 1974 constitution. The pro-democracy leader was given 18 months suspended sentenced by the court for ‘harbouring’ an American, John William Yettaw, who swam across a lake and entered her house in early May. Following the sentence, a defence team submitted an appeal to the divisional court, which, however, was rejected saying the district court’s decision was in keeping with the law. The defence team then submitted its appeal to the Supreme Court. As the 1974 constitution is defunct, the verdict of the district court, which draws its statute from the 1974 constitution, cannot be relevant. Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been kept under detention in various forms for the past 14 of 20 years, had written a letter to the junta’s military supremo Snr Gen Than Shwe, requesting a meeting with him to further discuss activities concerning lifting of western sanctions. Responding partially, Than Shwe allowed her to meet aging party leaders last week, though he has not yet responded to her requests of allowing her to have a meeting with her party – National League for Democracy – central executive committee members, and a face to face meeting with him. Lately, sources in Rangoon said, there have been widespread rumours of the possibilities of releasing Aung San Suu Kyi among political observers. Adding fuel to the speculations, sources said is the National League for Democracy renovating its old and shabby office in Rangoon’s West Shwe Gondine Street in Bahan Township. It has, led some to think that it could be to welcome party General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi to sit at the office after she is released.Media agencies

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