Suu Kyi defence reduced to one witness

May 28, 2009 (DVB), Three of the four witnesses representing Aung San Suu Kyi's defence team were disqualified yesterday in a move that Suu Kyi's party believe to be an attempt by judges to finish off the trial "as soon as they can".

The trial of Burma's opposition leader, her two caretakers and US citizen John Yettaw, whose stay at Suu Kyi's compound triggered charges that she had breached house arrest conditions, is now in its ninth day.

Yesterday, however, the court announced that it would not allow three of Suu Kyi's four witnesses , Tin Oo, Win Tin and Khin Moe Moe , to testify.

A lawyer for Suu Kyi said that no proper reason was given, and claimed that the Act the judges used to disqualify the three was only attributable to people deemed a "threat and a disturbance to the trial".

"We have no idea how our three witnesses have became attributable to that disqualification and we think this is wrong under legal terms," said Nyan Win.

"In our analysis, we see that [the government] is trying to finish off his trial as soon as they can."

In a similar move, the prosecution team on Monday abruptly dropped its nine remaining witnesses, leaving Suu Kyi to testify in front of the court on Tuesday with little preparation or access to lawyers.

The courtroom will tomorrow hear statements from the last remaining witnesses.

Suu Kyi has denied charges under the Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements, in which she is accused of harbouring Yettaw in breach of conditions of her house arrest.

The opposition leader told the courtroom yesterday that the breach of security that allowed Yettaw into the house was the fault of authorities charged with guarding her compound, and not Suu Kyi.

Yettaw yesterday added substance to this argument with claims that he had passed a number of soldiers en route to the compound.

"He said, on his second visit, he was seen by about four to five soldiers on his way into her compound," said lawyer Nyan Win.

"They were carrying guns with them but they didn't do anything to stop him from approaching the house, apart from throwing some stones at him."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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