[JURIST] Myanmar authorities have denied [AFP report] a request from opposition pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to attend arguments on her appeal, her National League for Democracy (NLD) [party website] party told the Agence France-Presse Wednesday. NLD spokesperson and lawyer for Suu Kyi, Nyan Win, said an application to the police special information branch to be present for Friday's arguments was rejected. Government officials defended [AP report] that decision Thursday in commentary published in state newspaper Myanma Ahlin [text, PDF, in Burmese/Myanmar], saying that unless the court specifically required the presence of a defendant, the appeals process, including judgment, could be completed without her presence.
Earlier this month, the Divisional Court in Rangoon agreed to hear the appeal of Suu Kyi's recent conviction [JURIST reports] for violating state security laws. Suu Kyi was sentenced to an additional 18 months of house arrest for allowing American John Yettaw to stay in her home after he swam across a lake to get there. Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years in prison with four years of hard labor, was released [JURIST report] last month after negotiations with US Senator Jim Webb (D-VA). Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the last 20 years in detention, and her latest conviction has been condemned [BBC report] by many world leaders and has given rise to international sanctions [JURIST report] against Myanmar's junta and members of the judiciary.