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Suu Kyi barred from courtroom

Sept 15, 2009 (DVB), Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been denied entrance to the Rangoon courtroom where she is due to lodge an appeal against her conviction, according to her lawyer.

Lawyer Nyan Win on Friday submitted a letter requesting that she be allowed to attend the hearing, set for 18 September, but the following day the request was rejected by the Special Police Information Branch.

"We said [in the letter] that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was willing to attend the hearing in person," he said.

"There was no solid reason given for the denial. They told us to make the request to the court but actually the court doesn't have authority to decide."

"[Under normal circumstances] court hearings are open for public listeners and there is no law prohibiting people from attending the hearing of the case they are involved in," he said.

Nyan Win said last week that the defence team was lodging an appeal comprising 11 points. Lawyers had met with Suu Kyi on 10 September to finalise the appeal.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader was sentenced in August to 18 months under house arrest, commuted from three years with hard labour.

The detention was triggered by the visit of US citizen John Yettaw to Suu Kyi's Rangoon compound in May. Yettaw was originally given seven years with hard labour, but was released following a visit to Burma by US senator Jim Webb.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years. Her last spell in detention was due to expire only weeks after Yettaw visited.

According to her lawyers, the conditions of her current house arrest are stricter than before, with Suu Kyi denied access to her family doctor, who has been replaced by a government doctor.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet


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