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French President: Burma Blocks Call to Detained Opposition Leader

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he tried to telephone Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi but was prevented by Burma's military government.

Mr. Sarkozy made the statement Thursday in Paris at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The French president said he and Mrs. Merkel are very concerned about Aung San Suu Kyi, who faces a possible five-year prison sentence for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest.

Mr. Sarkozy said the two leaders have asked China and India for help in pressing their concerns about the Nobel Peace laureate.

Also Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers filed an appeal with Burma's Supreme Court to allow two more defense witnesses to testify at her trial.

Her legal team filed an appeal after the court hearing her case barred three of her four witnesses from testifying on her behalf.

An appeals court this week reinstated one of the witnesses, but upheld the ban on two others, who are both senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

Only one witness has testified in defense of the pro-democracy leader so far, while the prosecution was allowed 14 witnesses.

A member of her defense team, Nyan Win, said Aung San Suu Kyi told them to file the appeal after a brief meeting Wednesday inside Rangoon's notorious Insein prison.

Nyan Win said Aung San Suu Kyi also said that the charge against her is politically motivated.

Her charge stems from an uninvited visit to her lakeside Rangoon house by an American man.

Critics of the government say the trial is a pretext for Burma's military rulers to keep the pro-democracy leader in detention through next year's election.

The 63-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi already has spent more than 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest.

Burma has been under military rule since 1962. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won elections in 1990, but the military refused to recognize the results.

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