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Burma Rejects Witnesses for Aung San Suu Kyi


The party of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says a Burmese court has rejected all but one of her defense witnesses as she faces up to five years in prison for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest.

A spokesman for her National League for Democracy said Wednesday that the court rejected three other witnesses, all of whom belong to the opposition party. Legal expert Kyi Win, one of Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers, will be allowed to testify as her sole witness in the trial, which is expected to end this week.

Aung San Suu Kyi was accused of violating her house arrest by giving shelter to an American man who swam to her house in the early morning hours of May 4.

According to a statement released by her party, Aung San Suu Kyi testified Tuesday that the incident that led to the current charges occurred due to a security breach, although no officials have been held accountable.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said the court heard three hours of testimony from American John Yettaw during the closed trial Wednesday. Nyan Win said Yettaw, in his first testimony to the court, described how he received a vision from God that terrorists planned to assassinate Aung San Suu Kyi. He reportedly told the court that God told him to come to Burma to warn Aung San Suu Kyi.

The pro-democracy leader testified Tuesday she gave Yettaw "temporary shelter" until he left the next day. Her lawyers say she asked the 53-year-old American to leave, but allowed him to stay overnight after he said he was too exhausted and ill to swim back.

Authorities lifted her latest home detention order on Tuesday, but she has been held at Insein prison since her arrest May 14 on charges of violating her house arrest.

Yettaw is also facing trial as are two caretakers.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention, most of it at her lakeside home in the main city of Rangoon.

Wednesday is the sixth anniversary of her latest round of detention, as well as the anniversary of the NLD's victory in the 1990 elections. The military refused to relinquish power.

Critics say Burma's military leaders are using the trial as a pretext to keep the opposition leader under detention so she cannot participate in next year's elections.

Her current trial has also provoked condemnation from the United States and across Asia and Europe.

On Wednesday, Britain's prime minister added his name to a new campaign for the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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