Losing an appeal for the freedom of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi but “winning a significant legal point,” her counsel Nyan Win on Friday vowed to file a revision petition in the apex court of the military-ruled state.
Ms. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Laureate, is now serving a new 18-month term of house arrest in Yangon, under an executive fiat which superseded a judicial order of a three-year rigorous imprisonment. The trial court pronounced her “guilty” of violating the terms of her previous house arrest by extending hospitality to an American national. She has spent over 14 years of the last two decades under house arrest, besides serving a brief prison term.
In dismissing the appeal against her conviction, which the junta did not set aside while changing the original sentence in August, the Yangon Divisional Court on Friday “accepted” a key legal argument raised by her lawyers.
Mr. Nyan Win later told The Hindu from Yangon that the “half-victory” would boost preparations for filing a revision petition in due course. He quoted the divisional judge as accepting that the 1974 Constitution, cited by prosecution as the prime basis of the case against Ms. Suu Kyi, “is not valid” in law. But the judge upheld the validity of the 1975 State Protection Law, under which the conditions of her previous house arrest were set. On that basis, the appeal against her conviction by the trial court was now rejected.
Describing as “very controversial” the ruling by the divisional judge on the validity of the State Protection Law, Mr. Nyan Win said the proposed revision petition would centre on this aspect. A successful petition would erode the very basis of the executive fiat on Ms. Suu Kyi’s current house arrest.