Burma Rejects Appeal from Aung San Suu Kyi
Burma Rejects Appeal from Aung San Suu Kyi
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A court in Burma has rejected an appeal for the release of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Her lawyers say they will appeal to a higher court.

Lawyers for Aung San Suu Kyi say a district court in Rangoon Friday rejected their appeal for her release.

The democracy activist's lawyers had argued that the laws she was sentenced under are based on a defunct constitution and are therefore invalid.

Nyan Win is one of Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers. He says they will appeal to a higher court where they still have some hope.

He says although the appeal was rejected, the court accepted their argument that the 1974 constitution could not be used. He says they argued that the restrictions imposed on Aung San Suu Kyi are according to the 1974 constitution, so the case against her should be annulled. But he says the court ruled the restrictions are still valid even though the constitution is not. He says they will prepare to submit an appeal to the high court.

In August, a court sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to 18 months house arrest for allowing an uninvited American man to stay at her home without official permission.

The American man, John Yettaw, was sentenced to seven years of hard labor but released on humanitarian grounds and deported.

The trial was internationally condemned as a sham designed by Burma's military rulers to keep the opposition leader locked up through next year's elections.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won Burma's last elections in 1990 but the military ignored the results.

They have kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for most of the past two decades.

The court's decision to uphold the sentence comes just days after the United States announced it would engage with Burma's military leaders to push for democracy.

But Washington says it will maintain economic sanctions against Burma until there are real improvements in the political situation.

The U.S., European Union and United Nations have long pushed for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and more than 2,000 other political prisoners in Burma.