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Full Myanmar high court to weigh Suu Kyi appeal

[JURIST] Myanmar's Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by opposition pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] against the 18-month extension of her house arrest. The decision for the full court to hear her appeal came as the result of a preliminary hearing held Monday, after the court initially agreed to consider the appeal [JURIST report] earlier this month. Suu Kyi's lawyers filed the appeal last month after a lower court rejected [JURIST reports] an earlier appeal. They argue that her conviction should not stand because it is based on the now-defunct 1974 constitution. No date has been set for the appeal hearing.

The extension of Suu Kyi's house arrest stems from an August conviction [JURIST report] for violating state security laws by 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] in August after negotiations with US Senator Jim Webb (D-VA). Suu Kyi was initially sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor, but her sentence was immediately commuted by junta chief General Than Shwe. 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 as a political move to prevent her from running in the upcoming elections. Her conviction has given rise to international sanctions [JURIST report] against Myanmar's junta and members of the judiciary.

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