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Regime eliminates Aung San Suu Kyi from 2010 elections

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 2 October 2009 - Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal against her imprisonment was today rejected by the Rangoon Divisional Court. She will now almost certainly be imprisoned throughout Burma's 2010 general elections.

The Rangoon Divisional Court upheld Aung San's conviction for "allowing" an uninvited American man to enter her prison. The court did however acknowledge that half the charges were based on the superseded 1974 Constitution and were therefore not applicable. Her lawyer Nyan Win has stated that they will appeal to the high court within 60 days.

Despite her application to attend the appeal proceedings, Aung San's guards refused to escort her to the court. The refusal by the Special Branch, the police department responsible for guarding Aung San's prison, meant that the court could proceed without even the bare minimum of openness.

The Special Branch refusal also aimed at averting further international criticism of the Burmese judicial system, by justifying their actions under the guise of protecting the security of Aung San.

The proceedings at first instance were also highly irregular. ARTICLE 19 honorary board member Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned for 18 months under Section 22 of Burma's State Protection Act.

Although Aung San is already barred from elected office due to her marriage to the deceased British national Dr Michael Aris, this judgement now means that she will not be able to take any part in the 2010 election process.

"The military regime has once again demonstrated its contempt for justice," says Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 executive director. "With the exception of the military regime's backers in China, India and Asean, the entire world knows that unless there is drastic action, the 2010 elections will remain meaningless."

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