Suu Kyi allowed to appeal sentence

Sept 4, 2009 (DVB), Judges in the trial of Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have allowed lawyers to appeal her sentencing following a hearing in Rangoon this morning.

Lawyers for Suu Kyi submitted an appeal yesterday questioning the validity of a law under which she was sentenced to 18 months' house arrest.

"The [Rangoon divisional] court today accepted the appeal and appointed 18 September at 10am to hear the final statement," said lawyer Nyan Win.

The leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party was sentenced in August, along with US citizen John Yettaw, whose visit to Suu Kyi's compound in May triggered the trial.

Following a visit to Burma in August by US senator Jim Webb, Yettaw was released from prison. He had been sentenced to seven years with hard labour.

Suu Kyi's guilty verdict was widely condemned as a ploy to keep her in detention beyond the 2010 elections, scheduled for March next year.

Her lawyers have argued that the ratification of Burma's new constitution in 2008 effectively annulled the previous one.

"At the court today we raised an argument on whether the 1974 constitution law is still valid or not," said Nyan Win.

"We pointed out that it was wrong under legal terms for the lower court to pass a sentence on Daw Suu under that law.

"There were 11 points made in the appeal but [the above] is the main one."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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