Suu Kyi trial set to be wrapped up

YANGON; The internationally condemned trial of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi neared its climax Monday as prosecution lawyers prepared to give their final arguments at the prison court.

The detained Nobel peace laureate, 64, faces five years in jail on charges of violating her house arrest over a bizarre incident in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam uninvited to her lakeside home in Yangon in May.

Her lawyers gave their closing statements on Friday in the trial at Yangon's notorious Insein prison, where Suu Kyi is being held, after weeks of delays.

Monday's session was to begin with closing statements from the lawyers for Yettaw and for Suu Kyi's two female aides, who are all also on trial, said Nyan Win, one of Suu Kyi's lawyers.

Prosecution lawyers were then expected to give their closing statements, after which the defence team would have a chance to reply, Nyan Win told AFP.

A Myanmar official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that the hearing started at around 10:00 am (0330 GMT).

It was still unclear when a verdict was likely in the case.

Nyan Win, also a spokesman for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, said Friday that their legal team welcomed calls for her release from foreign ministers attending Asia's biggest security forum last week in Thailand.

Myanmar's state media Sunday accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called for Suu Kyi's release at the conference in Phuket, of interfering with Southeast Asia's internal affairs.

Nyan Win said the opposition leader's main lawyer, Kyi Win, read out a 30-page final statement at the trial on Friday and her legal team was "satisfied" with their arguments.

The trial has provoked international outrage, with critics saying the ruling junta was using the charges as an excuse to keep Suu Kyi locked up for elections promised by the regime next year.

Her trial began just days before the latest period of her house arrest was due to expire. She has spent most of the last two decades in detention since the junta refused to recognise her party's victory in elections in 1990.