Myanmar says Suu Kyi trial an internal affair

SINGAPORE Sun May 31, 2009 10:23am IST

An activist looks down during a vigil in support of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Taipei, May 27, 2009. Myanmar said on Sunday that the trial of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was in line with its laws and was a domestic issue other countries should not interfere with.  REUTERS/Nicky Loh

An activist looks down during a vigil in support of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Taipei, May 27, 2009. Myanmar said on Sunday that the trial of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was in line with its laws and was a domestic issue other countries should not interfere with.

Credit: Reuters/Nicky Loh

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Myanmar said on Sunday that the trial of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was in line with its laws and was a domestic issue other countries should not interfere with.

"The legal action against Aung San Suu Kyi is merely the internal affairs of Myanmar, taking action through its legal system in accordance with domestic law," said Major General Aye Myint, Myanmar's Deputy Minister of Defence, at the Asia Security Conference in Singapore.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial on charges of violating her house arrest by allowing an American intruder to stay for two days after he swam to her home in early May.

The Nobel laureate may be jailed for three to five years if found guilty of breaking the terms of her house arrest.

She has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years in some form of detention, much of it a virtual prisoner inside her home on Yangon's Inya Lake. Activists fear for her health if she is convicted, as is widely expected.

The West has condemned the "show trial" as a ploy to keep the charismatic opposition leader detained during the military government's promised elections next year.

"If any country interferes in the internal affairs of another country, that particular act may possibly affect the mutual understanding and friendly relationship between countries," said Myint.

Earlier at the meeting in Singapore, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates repeated Washington's call for the release of Suu Kyi and more than 2,000 other political prisoners in the former Burma, where the military has ruled for nearly half a century.

Britain's minister for international defence and security Ann Taylor also called for political freedom in Myanmar at the meeting on Sunday.

"We say to the generals, now is the time for democracy, starting with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi," she said.

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