Accessibility links

Breaking News

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi Meets Lawyers to Discuss Appeal of Conviction

Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met with her lawyers to discuss an appeal of her conviction for violating the terms of her house arrest.

Burma's military rulers allowed the lawyers to spend one hour with Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday at her lakeside Rangoon villa.

A Rangoon court convicted the opposition chief Tuesday of illegally permitting American John Yettaw to stay at her home in May after he swam there uninvited. The government then ordered her to spend another 18 months under house arrest.

One of the opposition chief's lawyers, Nyan Win, says they will appeal the verdict after obtaining a certified copy of it. He says Aung San Suu Kyi also wants clarification of the terms of her house arrest, including her rights to receive visitors and medical personnel.

Her sentencing drew strong criticism from human rights groups, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and world leaders in North America, Europe and parts of Asia.

But China's Foreign Ministry urged the world community Wednesday to respect what it calls Burma's "judicial sovereignty." China is one of the Burmese military's few allies.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, appealed Wednesday to Burma's military rulers as fellow Buddhists to show "magnanimity and understanding" by releasing Aung San Suu Kyi. The Dalai Lama and the Burmese opposition leader are both Nobel Peace prize laureates.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed its "deep disappointment" over Aung San Suu Kyi's sentence in a statement issued Wednesday.

The 10-nation regional bloc, of which Burma is a member, has been reluctant to pressure Burma, citing its long-standing policy of not interfering in members' internal affairs.

The 64-year-old democracy leader already has spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention, mostly under house arrest. Critics accuse the Burmese military of putting Aung San Suu Kyi on trial to keep her from taking part in next year's elections.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for John Yettaw says the American will appeal his sentence of seven years in prison with hard labor for violating Burmese law by swimming to Aung San Suu Kyi's home.

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