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Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 11:49 UK

Suu Kyi insists she is innocent

Ms Suu Kyi in May 2002

Burma's jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has insisted she is not guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest, her lawyer said.

He said Ms Suu Kyi was being held in a "guest room" at the top security Insein jail in Rangoon, but seemed physically well and was "mentally strong".

Western governments were quick to condemn the new charges against Ms Suu Kyi and call for her immediate release.

She faces trial on Monday over an apparently uninvited visit by a US man.

"Suu Kyi said that she believes that she will be found 'not guilty' over her connection with the American intruder," her lawyer Kyi Win told the Thailand-based independent Burmese publication, Irrawaddy.

Reports say Ms Suu Kyi was charged under the country's Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements.

The charges carry a maximum jail term of five years, which would stretch her detention past its supposed expiry date on 27 May and beyond the 2010 elections.

World leaders and human rights groups have denounced the move as a pretext for Burma's military regime to silence its chief opponent ahead of next year's election.

'Uninvited guest'

The charges follow an incident in which an American man swam across a lake to her home and stayed there secretly for two days. His motives remain unclear.

Burmese state news agency handout photo of John Yettaw

Ms Suu Kyi's lawyer said the American, John Yettaw, had not been invited and that she had tried to send him away.

He is expected to be tried on immigration and security offences, although the charges are yet to be confirmed by the government.

The Burmese authorities have described the American as a 53-year-old Vietnam war veteran and resident of the state of Missouri.

Ms Suu Kyi was detained after her party's victory in a general election in 1990 and has been under house arrest for much of the past 19 years.

'Tenuous pretext'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have demanded her immediate release.

Hillary Clinton is "deeply troubled" by the charges against Ms Suu Kyi

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier said that if "the 2010 elections are to have any semblance of credibility, she and all political prisoners must be freed to participate".

Jose Ramos Horta, the East Timorese president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he would call on the International Criminal Court to investigate Burma's military rulers if they did not Ms Suu Kyi.

Thailand's prime minister also expressed concern on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), one of the few groups that allow Burma as a member.

Singapore and Indonesia joined the condemnation of the arrest. There has been no comment so far from China - now Burma's most important trading partner.

Ms Su Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a landslide election victory in 1990 only to be denied power by the military, "strongly condemned" the charges, which come two weeks before her latest detention was due to expire.



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