Suu Kyi to call her deputy as witness

YANGON: Lawyers for Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday they will call the detained deputy leader of her opposition political party as a witness at her trial.

Tin Oo, the vice chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has been under house arrest since he was arrested with Aung San Suu Kyi after an attack on their motorcade during a political tour in 2003.

Party spokesman Nyan Win, who is also part of the legal team, said Tin Oo was one of four witnesses on a list that would be submitted on Tuesday to the court at the Insein prison near Yangon.

Asked whether he thought the ruling junta would allow Tin Oo to testify, Nyan Win told AFP: "They have to. Otherwise it will be one-sided."

The other witnesses are Win Tin, Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner until his release last September, a lawyer named Kyi Win -- not Aung San Suu Kyi's main defence lawyer, who has the same name -- and another lawyer called Khin Moe Moe, he said.

Myanmar has been faced with international anger over the trial, amid claims by critics that it is an excuse for the military regime to keep Aung San Suu Kyi locked up during elections due next year.

Aung San Suu Kyi has pleaded innocent to charges that she breached the terms of her house arrest in connection with an incident in which an American swam to her lakeside house earlier this month.

She faces up to five years in jail if convicted. She was expected to testify on Tuesday, Nyan Win said.

The opposition leader has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention, and the latest six-year period of her house arrest since the 2003 attack on the motorcade is due to expire on Wednesday.

The junta has not said if it will extend the term, although her lawyers say to do so is illegal as it would exceed the maximum period of detention under Myanmar's security laws.

In February, Myanmar authorities extended the house arrest of Tin Oo for another year.