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Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 08:09 UK

Suu Kyi verdict 'set for Friday'

Aung San Suu Kyi meets Thai, Singapore and Russian diplomats, 20 May

The court presiding over the trial of Burma's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver its verdict on Friday, her lawyer has said.

Ms Suu Kyi faces five years in jail if she is convicted of violating the terms of her house arrest by letting a US man stay in her home uninvited.

The trial had initially been expected to last a few days, but has now dragged on for more than two months.

Despite widespread calls for her release, a guilty verdict is expected.

Legal arguments

Prosecutors argue that Aung San Suu Kyi must be held responsible for the midnight swim to her home by the American well-wisher John Yettaw in early May.

Her lawyers have argued that the law she has been charged under is part of a constitution abolished 25 years ago. In any case, they say, she cannot be responsible for the incident as she was living under tightly-guarded house arrest at the time.

Police vehicles parked near Insein Prison, Burma, 10 July
Police are closely guarding the prison where the trial is being held

Defence lawyers gave their final statements on Tuesday, in response to the prosecution's closing arguments the day before.

"The verdict will be given this coming Friday," Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer Nyan Win told reporters after the session, adding that sentencing was expected on the same day.

An unnamed military official also confirmed that a decision would be announced on Friday.

Locked away

Before the start of Tuesday's session, Nyan Win said he held out hope for a verdict in Ms Suu Kyi's favour.

"We are confident that we will win the case if things go according to the law, he told reporters.

But analysts say the Burmese junta may use this trial to make sure the popular pro-democracy leader is still in detention during elections planned for early next year.

Lawyer Nyan Win (C), one of the lawyers for Burma's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, at the heaadquarters of her NLD party
Nyan Win still holds out hope that Aung San Suu Kyi will not be found guilty

Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the last elections in 1988 but was never allowed to take power.

The 64-year-old has spent nearly 14 of the last 20 years in detention, much of it at her Rangoon home.

Diplomats from Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the US were allowed to attend the trial in its closing stages, in what analysts say is a sign that the government has belatedly recognised as the level of international anger at trying Ms Suu Kyi on such bizarre charges.

Despite the risk of arrest, hundreds of her supporters have been rallying outside the prison where she's being held.

On Monday international human rights group Amnesty International named her as an "Ambassador of Conscience" - its highest honour - for her efforts to promote democracy.



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