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Suu Kyi trial ends with verdict due Friday

July 28, 2009 (DVB), The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, which has stretched over the course of nearly three months, finished this morning with a verdict due to be delivered on Friday, said a lawyer acting for Suu Kyi.

The trial of Burma's opposition leader has been besieged by delays, but the final hearing officially wrapped up at 11.30am today after prosecution lawyers finished presenting their statements.

"The court set a date for the final verdict on Friday, 31 July," said lawyer Nyan Win, adding that an appeal made yesterday by the defence team to summon one more witness had been rejected by the court.

Today it emerged that Suu Kyi's team had been tabling a new defence argument that would draw on a number of statements given to the United Nations by a former Burmese ambassador to the UN.

According to Nyan Win, the ambassador claimed that the government had not technically placed Suu Kyi under house arrest in 2003 following an attack by a mob on a convoy she was travelling in, but that she was kept in her house for her own safety.

The proposed witness was from Burma's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although it is not clear who exactly the person is.

"We found this vital for the case and needed a witness to confirm so we made our request," said Nyan Win. "But the court rejected this by reasoning that it was not important for the trial."

Suu Kyi reportedly argued in today's trial that she requested legal assistance when detained in 2003, but this was denied.

"In my opinion, I feel like the court rejected our appeal [for the witness] to hide the government's true motive against us," said Nyan Win.

If, as is widely expected, a guilty verdict is given on Friday, Suu Kyi could face up to five years imprisonment, which would keep her in detention far beyond next year's elections.

Nyan Win said yesterday that Suu Kyi was "preparing for the worst", while various international leaders have demanded her release.

If she is jailed, said Nyan Win, "we will continue to seek justice under legal terms."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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