19 Jan 2010

Suu Kyi appeal heard

8:25 am on 19 January 2010

The Supreme Court in Myanmar, formerly Burma, has heard a final appeal against the extended house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Her sentence was extended by 18 months last year after an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside home in Rangoon. An earlier appeal was rejected by a lower court.

The BBC reports the hearing follows a series of meetings between Ms Suu Kyi and a member of the military government.

Her lawyers have based the appeal on a legal technicality rather than the facts of the case. They argue that the charges against their client were brought using a law from a constitution which is now defunct.

A decision is not expected for at least a week.

Ms Suu Kyi, 64, has asked for direct talks with the head of the military government, General Than Shwe, and has offered to help try to get international sanctions eased.

The suggestion was first made four months ago, and repeated in November but so far there has been no official response.

The government is planning elections for later this year, the first since 1990 when the military refused to recognise a landslide victory by the National League for Democracy.

The extension of Ms Suu Kyi's house arrest means she will be unable to compete in this year's elections.

She has spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention.