Myanmar court postpones decision on Suu Kyi`s appeal

Myanmar`s SC said that it would decide "soon" on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi`s appeal against an 18-month house detention sentence which is set to keep her out of the way during the country`s general election Nov 7.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2010, 16:14 PM IST

Yangon: Myanmar`s Supreme Court said Friday that it would decide "soon" on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi`s appeal against an 18-month house detention sentence which is set to keep her out of the way during the country`s general election Nov 7.

"The court said that they will decide on her case soon," said Nyan Win, one of three lawyers representing Suu Kyi at the Supreme Court in Naypyitaw, 350 km north of Yangon.

In Hanoi, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Myanmar`s junta to release all political prisoners before the polls to add credibility to an election process that has been widely criticized as a sham.

"It is not too late, even now," Ban said. "The Myanmar authorities can make the elections more inclusive and participatory by releasing all political prisoners."

Ban was in Hanoi to attend a summit between the UN and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member.

"ASEAN and the United Nations agree on the need for a credible democratic transition and national reconciliation in Myanmar," Ban said.

Suu Kyi, 65, is serving an 18-month house arrest that is due to expire Nov 13, a week after the country holds its first polls in 20 years.

Her exclusion, along with her National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party, from the polls has lessened the election`s credibility in the eyes of the UN and most western democracies.

Although Suu Kyi was also under house arrest during the last general election in May 1990, the NLD party won 392 of the 447 contested seats, to the surprise of Myanmar`s generals.

The ruling junta is accused of rigging the polls this time round to assure the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party wins.

On Aug 11, 2009, a special prison court sentenced the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner to 18 months under house arrest for breaking the conditions of her previous detention term.

Suu Kyi had earlier appealed the sentence at two lower courts, which upheld the verdict, before taking it to the Supreme Court.

Myanmar, also called Burma, has been under military rule since 1962. Its judiciary has a long record of bowing to military demands on controversial cases.

IANS