Yangon: Myanmar`s Supreme Court has
agreed to consider opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi`s appeal
against her house arrest, due to end days after controversial
elections next month, her lawyer said on Thursday.
The detention of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has
kept her off the scene for the country`s first polls in 20
years, which have been dismissed by critics as a charade aimed
at putting a civilian cloak over military rule.
Suu Kyi`s last-ditch "special appeal" will be heard by
a panel of three judges in the capital Naypyidaw on October
29, according to a notice posted outside the Yangon branch of
the Supreme Court.
The democracy icon`s current term of detention is due
to end on November 13, although some fear the ruling generals
may find an excuse to extend it.
Suu Kyi`s lawyers say the current period of detention
started with her imprisonment on May 14 and expect her to be
freed next month, but they are continuing their efforts to
have the conviction quashed.
"We are always hoping for the best," said one of her
attorneys, Khin Htay Kywe. "We will try to meet with Aung San
Suu Kyi before to prepare our arguments."
Suu Kyi lodged the last-ditch appeal in May. She has
already had her appeal rejected twice, most recently by the
Supreme Court in February. Court verdicts in the army-ruled
country rarely favour opposition activists.
Even if Suu Kyi is released, observers believe the
pro-democracy leader is unlikely to be allowed full freedom to
conduct political activities.
Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the past two decades
locked up, had her detention extended by 18 months in August
last year over a bizarre incident in which an American man
swam uninvited to her lakeside home.
Her National League for Democracy won a landslide
election victory in 1990 but was never allowed to take office.
The party has been forcibly abolished for boycotting
the November 7 election, leaving the opposition in disarray.
Prisoners are barred from standing as parliamentary
Western governments as well as UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly said the vote will not be credible
unless Suu Kyi and other opponents are freed.
The UN special envoy on rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea
Quintana, cast new doubt yesterday, on the legitimacy of the
"Conditions for genuine elections are limited under
the current circumstances," he said.
"Numerous political parties have complained of
official harassment and intimidation. The potential for these
elections to bring meaningful change and improvement to the
human rights situation remains uncertain," he added.