Suu Kyi turns 64 amid outrage over trial

Supporters celebrate, call for tougher sanctions against Myanmars military regime

Nyan Win, a lawyer defending the Nobel laureate who faces up to five years in jail, said Suu Kyi would be allowed a few visitors to Yangon’s Insein prison, where she is on trial over charges she broke the terms of her house arrest.

“I’m going to send her some birthday presents and food so she can celebrate with a few guests,” he said.

Confined for nearly 14 of the past 20 years, Suu Kyi’s birthday has become an annual ritual inside and outside Myanmar for campaigners seeking an end to decades of military rule that has left the country an impoverished international pariah.

But the day has taken on added significance this year amid international outrage at her trial, which is widely expected to end with a guilty verdict.

Protests are planned outside Myanmar embassies in major capitals around the world.
An online campaign, www.64forsuu.org, drew thousands of messages of support, including good wishes from world leaders and celebrities. “Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration to her country and the rest of the world,” wrote former Beatle Paul McCartney. “I truly admire her infallible resolve and her determination to stand up for what she believes in.”

Suu Kyi is accused of breaking the terms of her house arrest by allowing an American intruder, John Yettaw, to stay for two days after he swam to her Yangon home in early May.

She says the trial, set to resume on June 26, is politically motivated to exclude her from next year’s elections.

‘Ridiculous trial’

In London, British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis said Suu Kyi was being tried on “ridiculous and bogus trumped-up charges”. He said the European Union would consider further sanctions against the junta after the trial ended. “We (Britain) continue to believe that further financial sanctions would increase pressure on the regime,” he told reporters.
In Yangon, members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy will gather at the party’s dilapidated headquarters to release doves and call for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners.

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