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Aung San Suu Kyi's Lawyer Appeals Again to Allow Witnesses to Testify


Burma's Supreme Court has heard an appeal by lawyers for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to allow two of her key aides to testify at her trial.

Defense lawyer Nyan Win said in Wednesday's proceedings that one of the banned witnesses, Tin Oo, is currently under house arrest, while the other witness, Win Tin, has been barred by prosecutors because he has given interviews to foreign journalists.

The defense attorney says the two witnesses should be allowed, because there is no legal restriction on someone testifying while under arrest and there is no law restricting free speech.

Nyan Win says the justices did not say when they would issue their ruling on their appeal.

Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial for violating the terms of her house arrest, after allowing an American man to stay at her lakeside home in Rangoon for two days after he swam there uninvited.

A lower court initially banned three of Aung San Suu Kyi's four witnesses from giving testimony. A Burmese court reinstated a second witness earlier this month, but upheld the ban on Tin Oo and Win Tin. Both men are senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

Her trial, which has been delayed for several days, is set to resume on June 26.

The Nobel Peace laureate faces five years in prison if convicted. The international community has condemned the trial, calling it a pretext for the military junta to keep her in detention through next year's elections.

The pro-democracy leader, who turned 64 years old June 19, has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest.

Diplomats said earlier this week United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari is due to visit Burma this week to prepare for a possible visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. U.N. officials have not announced either visit.

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

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