- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 30, 2009

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) | Detained leader for democracy Aung San Suu Kyi urgently needs medical attention in the Myanmar prison where she is being held, her party said Friday, while closing arguments in her trial were delayed until the end of next week.

A party statement said it was “gravely concerned” about the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s health, noting she cannot sleep well because she suffers from leg cramps.

Mrs. Suu Kyi, 63, was treated for dehydration and low blood pressure in early May, a few days after an American intruder was arrested for sneaking into her home. The military government has accused her of violating the terms of her house arrest for harboring the American. If found guilty, she could spend up to five years in prison.

In her courtroom appearance Tuesday, Mrs. Suu Kyi looked pale and weak.

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that Mrs. Suu Kyi, who is being held in a prison “guest house,” is being “provided with adequate health care and she is in good health.” The government earlier said a team of doctors was taking care of her.

Monday’s closing arguments in the trial were rescheduled to Friday, said Nyan Win, one of Mrs. Suu Kyi’s attorneys. The reason was not immediately known, and court authorities were not available for comment.

The trial has evoked outrage from the international community and Mrs. Suu Kyi’s local supporters, who worry that the military junta has found an excuse to keep her detained through next year’s elections. Her party overwhelmingly won the country’s last elections in 1990 but was not allowed to take power by the military, which has run the country since 1962.

Mrs. Suu Kyi has pleaded not guilty. Her defense team acknowledges that John W. Yettaw, 53, swam to her lakeside home, where he stayed for two days. But they argue it was the duty of government guards outside her closely watched house to prevent intruders.

Mr. Yettaw, who was taken to Mrs. Suu Kyi’s home Thursday by officials to re-enact his visit, told the court Wednesday he had been sent by God to warn Mrs. Suu Kyi of his premonition that she would be assassinated by terrorists, Mr. Nyan Win said.

Mr. Yettaw also secretly went to Mrs. Suu Kyi’s home late last year but did not meet her. He testified that security personnel observed him during both visits but did not try to stop him, Mr. Nyan Win said.

Mr. Yettaw and two female party members who live with Mrs. Suu Kyi face the same charge as Mrs. Suu Kyi and have also pleaded not guilty.

The defense’s main argument appears to be that the charge against Mrs. Suu Kyi is unlawful. Her attorneys say it cites a law that refers to a 1974 constitution, which was annulled when the military again took power in 1988.

However, supporters fear Mrs. Suu Kyi may be found guilty because the courts are under the influence of the ruling junta and usually mete out harsh punishments to political dissidents.


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