Suu Kyi to protest innocence

Suu Kyi to protest innocence

Democracy icon faces 5 years' prison if found guilty of violating detention.

YANGON - Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will protest her innocence when she goes on trial starting today, her party said as the ruling military junta freed her personal doctor from detention.

The 63-year-old met her lawyer on Saturday at the notorious Insein prison where she has been held since last week on charges of violating house arrest by sheltering an American man who swam across a lake to her residence.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner faces up to five years in prison if convicted on the charges, which would keep her behind bars during controversial elections planned by Myanmar's generals for next year.

A spokesman for her National League for Democracy party said she had discussed the case when lawyer Kyi Win visited Insein prison near Yangon. The behind-closed-doors trial is expected to take place inside the prison.

"They discussed the charges and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that she didn't commit any crimes and she is ready to talk about it in court," the spokesman, Nyan Win, said Sunday.

"She asked him to tell friends and colleagues that she is in good health," he said.

Aung Thein, another lawyer who applied to represent her at the trial, said on Saturday that he had been disbarred by the authorities a day earlier.

Myanmar has faced global pressure to free Aung San Suu Kyi and drop the charges, which were filed less than two weeks before the latest period of her detention was due to expire. She has spent 13 of the last 19 years in jail or under house arrest.

However, the regime on Saturday released her doctor, Tin Myo Win, nearly two weeks after he was held while trying to get access to her.

"According to him his health situation is good," said one of Tin Myo Win's relatives.

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