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Burma bars access to Suu Kyi trial again

May 21, 2009 (AFP), Burma’s military regime put the trial of opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi back behind closed doors today, after allowing diplomats and journalists to attend the hearing for just one day.

The junta had opened up the proceedings at the notorious Insein Prison near Yangon on Wednesday, in an apparent concession to fierce international criticism of the charges against the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

"The press will not be allowed today (Thursday). Only for one day were diplomats and press allowed," a Myanmar official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Diplomats said on Wednesday that they had been informed they would only be allowed in for one day, but the situation for the media was unclear until the official confirmation on Thursday.

A smiling, healthy-looking Aung San Suu Kyi, 63, had thanked diplomats for coming to the trial on Wednesday and said she hoped to meet them again in "better days."

Authorities allowed one diplomat from each of the 30 foreign embassies in Yangon to attend, while Aung San Suu Kyi met envoys from Thailand, Singapore and Russia.

Five journalists working for foreign news organisations and five from local groups were also allowed into the trial, which had previously only been reported on by the tightly controlled state media.

Aung San Suu Kyi faces up to five years in jail if convicted of charges of breaching her house arrest stemming from an incident earlier this month in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside house.

Myanmar’s ruling generals have kept her in jail or under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.


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