Myanmar

By Aung Hla Tun

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be charged in connection with an American man who allegedly swam to her lakeside villa in Yangon where she is under house arrest, a spokesman for her party said Thursday.

Nyan Win of the National League for Democracy (NLD), quoting Suu Kyi's lawyer, said the Nobel Peace laureate would be moved to Yangon's Insein Prison later Thursday to face trial.

The charges related to the apparent breach of her house arrest come only weeks before Suu Kyi's current detention order is due to expire on May 27. Her latest detention began in 2003.

State media reported Wednesday night that a U.S. embassy official had been allowed to visit John Yettaw, who was arrested on May 6 after he claimed to have swam across Inya Lake and spent two days in Suu Kyi's home.

"The authorities will move Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her two female companions, Daw Khin Win and her daughter, to Insein Central Prison this morning to stand trial in connection with the American man who sneaked into her residence," Nyan Win told Reuters.

VISITORS RESTRICTED

Suu Kyi's lawyer, Kyi Win, was not available for comment, but he told exiled Burmese media that Suu Kyi had not breached the conditions of her house arrest, under which visitors are restricted by the regime.

"Daw Suu told him to go back, but he didn't," Kyi Win told the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), using the honorific "Daw" for Burmese women.

"He said he was so tired and wanted to rest, but she pleaded with him. Then he slept overnight on the ground floor," Kyi Win said.

Suu Kyi, whose party won 1990 elections only to be denied power by the military which has ruled the former Burma for more than four decades, has been detained for more than 13 of the past 19 years.

For most of those years she has been held virtually incommunicado at her home, with her telephone line cut and her mail intercepted.

Kyi Win told DVB that Suu Kyi's health was improving after she was treated for low blood pressure and dehydration last week.

"She looks okay. She has a very strong spirit," he said.

The United States and human rights groups have demanded that Suu Kyi be allowed to see her main doctor, Tin Myo Win, who was detained for questioning last week.

U.N. legal experts have said her confinement is illegal under Myanmar law, which allows for detention of five consecutive years before the accused must be freed or put on trial.

Suu Kyi's lawyer launched an appeal after her detention was extended last year, but it was rejected last month.

The generals have ignored international calls for Suu Kyi's release as they push ahead with a seven-step "roadmap to democracy" expected to culminate in multi-party elections in 2010.

The NLD and Western governments dismiss the "roadmap" and last year's army-drafted constitution as a cover for the generals to cement their grip on power.

(Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Darren Schuettler; Editing by Valerie Lee)

Article Published: 14/05/2009