News / Asia

Burma's Supreme Court Rejects Democracy Leader's Appeal

Burma's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi  (file photo)
Burma's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (file photo)

Burma's Supreme Court has rejected democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's final appeal of her conviction and sentence last year. The ruling was made just two days before she is expected to be released. But some of her supporters fear the government will seek to keep her under arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers had argued her current 18-month house arrest sentence, which expires Saturday, was illegal. 

The decision follows Burma's first elections in two decades Sunday, which a military-backed party claimed to win by a landslide.  The elections were widely condemned as a sham designed to cement military rule.

The NLD won the last election in 1990 but the military ignored the results and forced opposition politicians to flee the country or face arrest.

Zin Linn, a spokesman for Burma's government in exile, says they are not surprised by Thursday's ruling.

"Because in Burma, as you know, all the courts, including high court or Supreme Court, all the courts are under the senior General Than Shwe. Than Shwe is above all the courts, above the law,"  Zin Linn said.

The government disbanded the NLD for boycotting this year's elections and it now operates as a social charity.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been held under some form of detention for most of the past 20 years.

The Nobel laureate's house arrest was extended last year in August after a incident in which an uninvited American man swam to her lakeside home.  She was found guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest for not reporting the man to authorities.

The term is scheduled to run out on Saturday and her lawyers say they expect her to be released.

Aung San Suu Kyi has said if released she would investigate allegations of voter fraud and intimidation in the elections.

Zin Linn says this may give the government enough excuse to keep her locked up.

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