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Burma Again Bars Observers From Aung San Suu Kyi's Trial


Burmese authorities have again barred observers from the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is accused of allegedly violating the conditions of her six-year house arrest.

The United States expressed disappointment with Burma's decision to close Thursday's proceedings and called for Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate release.

A State Department spokesman said an American consular officer was present at the hearings because of the involvement of a U.S. citizen who triggered the case against Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is on trial for allowing John Yettaw to stay at her house for two days after swimming to her lakeside residence on May 3.

Her lawyers said she had asked him to leave but that he was too exhausted and ill to swim back.

Aung San Suu Kyi's two maids and Yettaw also are on trial. Yettaw is charged with immigration violations and entering a restricted area.

The trial, which began just days before Aung San Suu Kyi was to be released from her current term of detention on May 27, has caused international outrage. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison.

Critics say Burma's military leaders want to keep her under detention and away from next year's elections.

The opposition leader has been under house arrest for more than 13 of the past 19 years. Her National League for Democracy party won Burma's elections in 1990, but the country's military leaders have refused to relinquish power.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.




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