RANGOON, Burma – The high-profile trial of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi concluded Tuesday with the court announcing it will deliver its verdict at the end of the week, officials and diplomats said.
Judge Thaung Nyunt said the court will make its ruling on Friday, according to an Asian diplomat in the courtroom and a government official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Suu Kyi's lawyers had expected a verdict next month. Details on why the court set the earlier date were not immediately available.
Defense lawyers gave their final statements Tuesday in the case that has drawn international condemnation from world leaders, Hollywood celebrities and the United Nations.
The detained 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is accused of violating the terms of her house arrest by harboring an uninvited American man who swam to her lakeside home and stayed for two days.
Suu Kyi faces up to five years in prison. She is widely expected to be convicted, although there has been speculation she may stay under house arrest rather than serve time in jail.
Suu Kyi has been in detention for nearly 14 of the last 20 years.
Defense lawyer Nyan Win said before the start of Tuesday's session that he held out hope for a verdict in Suu Kyi's favor. "We are confident that we will win the case if things go according to the law."
Suu Kyi and three other defendants were scheduled to reply to arguments presented Monday by prosecutor Myint Kyaing, the lawyer said.
Diplomats from Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the United States were allowed to attend the trial Tuesday, one of the diplomats said, citing embassy protocol for speaking on condition of anonymity.
Suu Kyi won London-based Amnesty International's highest award Monday for her defense of human rights, underscoring international support for her struggle to bring democracy to the military-ruled country.
At a concert Monday in Dublin, Ireland, U2's Bono publicly announced the award — Amnesty's Ambassador of Conscience Award — before 80,000 cheering fans. The rights group said it hopes its highest honor would help deter Burma's junta from imposing any harsh new punishments on her.
But neither international outrage, nor offers of closer ties with the U.S. if Suu Kyi is freed, appear to have deflected the ruling junta's determination to neutralize — if not imprison — her.
Suu Kyi emerged as the country's democracy icon during a popular uprising in 1988, which was brutally suppressed by the military that has ruled the country since 1962.
Yettaw, meanwhile, was also charged with violating terms of Suu Kyi's house arrest — as an abettor — and could be sent to prison for five years. He also faces a municipal charge of swimming in a non-swimming area and is accused of immigration violations.
Yettaw pleaded not guilty and explained in court he went to warn Suu Kyi after having a dream she would be assassinated.