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Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 21:43 UK

Burma's Suu Kyi claims innocence

Aung San Suu Kyi meets Thai, Singapore and Russian diplomats, 20 May
Diplomats were allowed to meet Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on trial for breaking the terms of her house arrest, has told a court she committed no crime, her lawyer says.

She spoke after five days of evidence from prosecution witnesses.

The UN Security Council has renewed demands for all political prisoners to be freed and called on Burma's military rulers to open talks with Ms Suu Kyi.

She had been due for release on 27 May, but the charges she faces carry a maximum of five years in jail.

The authorities say she breached the conditions of her latest period of house arrest by allowing US national John Yettaw to stay in her home.

Observers say Burma's military rulers are using the charges as a pretext to keep her in jail during a general election scheduled for next year.

Rapid prosecution

In a press statement, the Security Council called for all political prisoners to be freed and to "create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue" with Ms Suu Kyi and other political groups.

Insein jail

"The members of the Security Council express their concern about the political impact of recent developments related to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," the statement said.

Ms Suu Kyi's lawyer, Nyan Win, said the presiding judge officially accepted the charges against her at the end of the prosecution case - which came much more rapidly than people had thought it would.

Prosecutors had been expected to call 22 witnesses, but the lawyer told the BBC's Burmese service that in the event far fewer had actually taken the stand.

He said the judge asked Ms Suu Kyi whether she was guilty, and she replied: "I have no guilt as I didn't commit any crime."

The trial, which is being held behind closed doors at Rangoon's Insein jail, is expected resume on Monday when her defence will present its case.

'Assassination dream'

Mr Yettaw, who swam across a lake to reach her house, is also on trial in Insein jail.

A group of Ms Suu Kyi's supporters outside the jail
A group of Ms Suu Kyi's supporters gathered outside the jail on Thursday

He is reported to have testified that he made the visit because he had dreamt that she was going to be assassinated.

Ms Suu Kyi's lawyers say she tried to send the man away but he refused to go.

He was then allowed to stay only because he said he was exhausted.

The ruling generals say the incident was a stunt designed to embarrass the government.

Foreign Minister Nyan Win was quoted as saying the incident had been fabricated by "internal and external anti-government elements" to "intensify international pressure" on the regime.

International condemnation

Ms Suu Kyi's trial opened on Monday behind closed doors.

Burma's ruling junta allowed some diplomats and journalists into the proceedings on Wednesday, only to bar them again the following day.

Governments and rights groups have condemned the trial - and diplomats have said they expect Ms Suu Kyi to be found guilty.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.

The party she leads, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won the country's last general election in 1990 - but she was never allowed to take power.

The ruling generals have scheduled an election for next year - but have written a new constitution which carves out a major role for the military in any new government.



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