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Burma Defends Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi


Burma on Sunday defended its prosecution of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for sheltering an American man who visited her Rangoon home without official permission.

Burma's Deputy Defense Minister Major General Aye Myint told an Asian security summit in Singapore that police had no choice but to charge Aung San Suu Kyi with violating the terms of her house arrest.

Delegates to the summit urged Burmese military rulers to release the Nobel Peace Prize laureate along with more than 2,000 other political prisoners. But Aye Myint warned other countries not to interfere in Burma's internal affairs.

Also Sunday, Burma's government in exile said Aung San Suu Kyi's trial has undermined the credibility of Burma's planned 2010 elections.

The National Coalition Government for the Union of Burma said that in light of Aung San Suu Kyi's prosecution, it will announce a new strategy for a transition to democracy.

A representative for the government in exile, Thaung Htun said that regional players should help push for a "real, inclusive democratic transition" in the country.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her two live-in assistants are on trial for allowing John Yettaw, who swam to her lakeside home in early May, to stay in her house overnight.

Yettaw is also on trial for breaking Burma's security and immigration laws.

If convicted, Aung San Suu Kyi could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. She has spent 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest.

The military has ruled Burma since 1962. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party won elections in 1990, but the military leadership refused to recognize the results.


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