Suu Kyi denied final meeting with lawyers

July 22, 2009 (DVB), Lawyers of Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have been denied a request to meet with her one last time before Friday's final court hearing and will not be able to discuss a final statement.

The lawyers were due to meet with Suu Kyi to finalise her court statement prior to the hearing on Friday but, according to lawyer Nyan Win, authorities phoned and said the court would not allow it.

"Now we are planning to just make a presentation based on our previous discussions with [Suu Kyi] and our legal point of view," he said. "This decision was not drawn together with Daw Suu but we'll just have to go with it."

It is widely expected that Suu Kyi will be found guilty of breaching conditions of her house arrest, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Critics have said that the trial is a pretext to keep her in detention beyond the elections next year.

Another lawyer for Suu Kyi said that the rejection could weaken her defense at the hearing as well as drawing more criticism towards the Burmese judicial system.

Nyan Win urged international leaders attending the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and ASEAN Regional Forum in Thailand today to keep a close eye on the situation.

"I think the international community's urging for her release is a reasonable thing as she was not even supposed to be on trial at this moment," he said.

A joint communiqué released on Monday following the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting called for the release of political prisoners in Burma, including Suu Kyi, as a prerequisite to "free, fair and inclusive" elections.

The statement also addressed the issue of ASEAN's much-criticised policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Burma, preferring instead to "constructively engage" with the junta.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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