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Trial of Myanmar's Suu Kyi adjourned until June 26

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[June 12, 2009]  YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- The trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was adjourned Friday for two weeks so defense lawyers can call an additional witness who will testify that the case is politically motivated, a lawyer said.

HardwareThe District Court trying Suu Kyi told lawyers of the postponement until June 26 during a brief hearing Friday at Insein Prison, where the trial is taking place, said Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's attorneys.

Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest when an uninvited American man swam secretly to her closely guarded lakeside home last month and stayed two days.

The hearing has drawn outrage from the international community and Suu Kyi's local supporters, who say the military government is using the bizarre incident as an excuse to keep the pro-democracy leader detained through next year's elections.

If convicted, the 63-year-old Nobel Peace laureate faces up to five years in prison. She has been detained under house arrest for more than 13 of the last 19 years.

It is widely expected that Suu Kyi will be found guilty because courts in Myanmar are known for handing out harsh sentences to political dissidents.

No new date was immediately set for closing arguments, which were originally scheduled for June 1.

Friday's postponement was expected after Suu Kyi's lawyers won an appeal earlier this week to reinstate one defense witness -- Khin Moe Moe, a lawyer and member of her National League for Democracy party.

"Daw Khin Moe Moe knows all the charges against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are political and she would testify based on these facts," Nyan Win said. "Daw" is a term of respect.

Suu Kyi's lawyers have filed a second appeal with the High Court to bring back two other witnesses -- both senior members of her opposition party.

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The District Court trying Suu Kyi had initially rejected the three defense witnesses -- leaving Suu Kyi with a sole witness.

All three would argue that Suu Kyi is not a threat to the "peace and tranquility of the state," said Nyan Win, citing the provision of the 1975 law authorities had used for her continued detention.

Suu Kyi told her lawyers she believes the case against her is "politically motivated" but that it wouldn't stop her from continuing her fight for democracy, Nyan Win said Thursday.

"She said she is engaged in politics due to her political belief and commitment," Nyan Win said. "She would not be doing politics if she were afraid of the consequences."

Suu Kyi's party won the country's last elections in 1990 but was not allowed to take power by the military, which has run the country since 1962.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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