Aung San Suu Kyi Faces New Charges in Myanmar Over House Arrest
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy activist and Prime Minister-elect in Myanmar, now faces new charges of violating her house arrest, despite being scheduled to be freed on May 27, 2009.
Suu Kyi has been kept under house arrest multiple times since the late 1980s and, most recently, she has been kept "in detention without trial" for over 13 of the past 19 years.
In 2008, Myanmar's miliatry junta extended her house arrest for another year and is now seeking to detain her for an additional 3 to 5 years imprisonment over the alleged infraction.
Leaders in South East Asia have expressed "grave concern" over Suu Kyi's new trial, which many believe to be "a pretext to ensure she is in jail during next year's elections".
Myanmar's military regime appears to be rushing a trial of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, one of her lawyers said Tuesday on the second day of proceedings seen as a pretext for the government to keep the Nobel laureate jailed through elections next year.
Five prosecution witnesses gave testimony Tuesday in the case, which accuses Suu Kyi of violating her house arrest after an American man swam to and entered her lakeside home without her permission.
The new charges stem from an attempt made by a 53-year-old Missouri man, John William Yettaw, swam across a lake and entered her home earlier this month.
Yettaw's attempt to visit Suu Kyi has several compromised her safety and could lead her to further incarceration.
Despite this, Yettaw's family members have insisted his actions were not politically motivated and that Yettaw's was simply interested in meeting Suu Kyi "as part of his research on forgiveness and resilience".
John Yettaw, 53, was arrested last week and charged Thursday with illegally entering a restricted zone, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and breaking immigration laws, which is punishable by up to one year in jail.