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Myanmar disbars lawyer seeking to represent jailed democracy advocate

[JURIST] The government of Myanmar has disbarred a lawyer who sought to represent jailed democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in her upcoming trial. The government cited Aung Thein's previous four-month jail term for contempt of court [IANS report] as the reason for the disbarment. Aung Thein was jailed for allowing his clients, student activists and members of the National League for Democracy, to criticize the court. The disbarment comes as Myanmar faces harsh international condemnation for last week's arrest of Suu Kyi [JURIST report]. Suu Kyi, whose house arrest is set to expire on May 27, was arrested when an uninvited US citizen swam to her house and stayed on the property.

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 [JURIST news archive] 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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