Detained party member to testify for Suu Kyi

May 26, 2009 (DVB), The detained deputy leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) will be called as a defence witness in the trial of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the court today reopens to journalists.

Deputy leader Tin Oo will be one of four witnesses called up by Suu Kyi's lawyers. NLD member Win Tin, who was released last year after spending 19 years in prison, and two other lawyers, will also be used.

Tin Oo was arrested along with Suu Kyi following the 2003 Depayin massacre, in which a government-backed mob opened fire on a convoy of NLD supporters, killing 70. He has been under house arrest ever since.

Suu Kyi is also set to testify today. Last week she pleaded innocent to charges related to breaching conditions of her house arrest following the intrusion of US citizen John Yettaw into her compound earlier this month.

Yesterday the prosecution abruptly dropped its eight remaining witnesses. A member of her legal team, Nyan Win, told AFP yesterday that he thought the trial was being rushed through by the judges.

"She will be questioned by the judge [today]," he said.

"This was a surprise to us because we need more time to discuss the case with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi."

Judges announced yesterday that they would again be allowing diplomats and journalists into the courtroom.

The move is seen as an attempt by the regime to deflect international criticism of the trial.

If found guilty, the charges carry a maximum sentence of five years, which would ensure she is imprisoned well beyond the scheduled 2010 elections. Critics see the trial as a means to this end.

Reporting by Francis Wade

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