x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Suu Kyi faces five years

The pro-democracy icon's legal team is preparing closing arguments in Suu Kyi's trial to present to the court on Friday.

Lawyers for Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday they were working on the final arguments in her trial, a day after Myanmar's junta accused her of covering up the presence of an American man in her home. The pro-democracy icon's legal team said they hoped to meet with her this week at the jail where she is being held, before the prosecution and defence present closing arguments to the court on Friday. The Nobel laureate faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest following an incident last month in which former US army veteran John Yettaw swam to her lakeside house. "We will prepare this week for the final arguments in the case. We are still working on whether we will meet Daw Suu again," Nyan Win, one of her lawyers and also the spokesman for her opposition party said. No hearings are expected in her trial at the notorious Insein Prison until Friday, but Yettaw is due back in court on Monday on separate charges including immigration violations, a Myanmar official said.

On Sunday Myanmar's deputy defence minister, Major General Aye Myint, rejected foreign criticism of the trial and said Aung San Suu Kyi was facing normal legal procedures. "It is no doubt that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has committed a cover-up of the truth by her failure to report an illegal immigrant to the authorities concerned," he told a security forum in Singapore. Opposition party spokesman Mr Win said he could not comment on the general's remarks as the trial was ongoing, adding: "He (Aye Myint) is talking about court matters. The court has not given any decision yet."

A guilty verdict is widely expected as Myanmar's courts have a track record of handing down tough sentences to dissidents, often in secret hearings. Aung San Suu Kyi said last week that the charges against her were "one-sided". The 63-year-old accused Myanmar authorities of failing to provide proper security despite the fact that she informed them of a previous intrusion by Yettaw in November 2008. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention, mostly in virtual isolation at her home. Her party won Myanmar's last elections, in 1990, but the result was never honoured by the junta.

* AFP