Thursday, May 14, 2009


Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: January 2008
Ms Suu Kyi is reportedly suffering from low blood pressure and dehydration

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with breaching the conditions of her detention under house arrest, her lawyer has said.

She will stand trial on 18 May, AFP news agency quoted the lawyer as saying. The charges follow a visit by an uninvited US national.

She was taken to a prison from her home in Rangoon, where she has spent most of the past 19 years, to hear the charges.

The American man was arrested after swimming across a lake to her house.

A spokesman for her National League for Democracy (NLD), Nyan Win said he had been informed of the plan to try Ms Suu Kyi and two women who live with her by her lawyer, who visited Ms Suu Kyi in her off-limits house on Wednesday.

She was driven in a police convoy from her house to the prison, eyewitnesses said.

Reports say security has been stepped up at the Insein prison.

The Nobel Peace laureate has been under house arrest for much of the past 19 years.

The latest detention began in May 2003, after clashes between opposition activists and supporters of Burma's (Myanmar) military government.

The house arrest was extended last year - a move which analysts say is illegal even under the junta's own legal limits.

It is now due to expire at the end of May.

Earlier this month, the military government rejected an appeal for the 63-year-old to be freed, despite NLD claims that she was suffering from low blood pressure and dehydration.

The charges are yet to be confirmed by the government.

But it looks as though this is a device to keep her detained until elections due in 2010 which the generals think will give them some legitimacy, says BBC South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head.

Ms Suu Kyi was detained after the NLD's victory in a general election in 1990. Burma's junta refused to allow the party to assume power.

The American national, John Yettaw, was arrested after allegedly entering the democracy campaigner's home and staying there secretly for two days.

Washington said that Burma's (Myanmar) military government had allowed a US diplomat to visit Mr Yettaw on Wednesday.

"Mr Yettaw has not been charged, nor have the Burmese authorities provided information on the next steps in this case," a US state department statement said.

"The embassy has stressed to Burmese authorities the US government's strong interest in Mr Yettaw's case and our concerns for his health, welfare and fair treatment," it said.




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