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Myanmar court hears testimony of democracy advocate Suu Kyi

[JURIST] Nobel Laureate and pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday told a Myanmar court that she did not violate the terms of her house arrest when an American man swam to her house. While Suu Kyi did not deny the fact that she allowed the man to stay after he swam to her house, she did deny responsibility [AP report], saying instead that the Myanmar authorities are responsible, because they are in charge of guarding her house. The contentious trial, which began on May 18th [JURIST report], has been opened to, and subsequently closed to journalists [JURIST reports] in the past week. If convicted, Suu Kyi faces up to five years in prison.

Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, has spent 12 of the past 18 years in prison or under house arrest for alleged violations of an anti-subversion law [text]. In 2007, the military government had implied that she might be released [JURIST report] after the country's new constitution was approved. In May 2008, the junta announced that Myanmar's draft constitution had been overwhelmingly approved [JURIST report], but the ruling junta at the same time extended Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year [JURIST report].

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