photo by jon nicholson

news - Burma Agrees to Hear Aung San Suu Kyi's Appeal Against House Arrest

september 8th, 2009

"A Burmese court today offered a glimmer of hope that the country's opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, could be set free after it accepted an appeal by her lawyers.

In a widely criticised decision, the Nobel peace laureate was given 18 months' house arrest on 11 August, after being found guilty of harbouring an intruder at her lakeside mansion in Rangoon in May.

The capital's divisional court will hear the appeal on 18 September, according to her lawyer, Nyan Win, who filed the appeal request yesterday. 'We are satisfied with the decision,' he said.

Nyan Win said he was confident the appeal would be successful. 'We are very optimistic about the outcome of the appeals since these judgments should have been passed all along,' he said.

But an observer of the Burmese judicial system said the junta had invested too much political capital in detaining Aung San Suu Kyi to reverse its decision just weeks after she was convicted.

'This case is a political issue, not a legal one,' said the retired legal expert, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'She was put under house arrest because they don't want her to disrupt the elections. There is no point in filing appeals in this kind of case in this country.'"

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