Burma Court Agrees to Hear Suu Kyi Appeal

A Burma court agreed Friday to hear an appeal by detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi of the criminal conviction that extended her house arrest by 18 months, one of her lawyers said.

The Divisional Court in Yangon set a Sept. 18 date for the appeal after lawyers formally presented their request Friday, Nyan Win said.

"We are satisfied with the decision," he said.

A district court convicted the 64-year-old opposition leader on Aug. 11 of violating the terms of her earlier detention after an American intruder stayed at her home. The court sentenced Suu Kyi to three years in prison with hard labor, but that sentence was commuted to 18 months of house arrest by order of military junta chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe.

Suu Kyi earlier described the conviction as unfair and the court's assessment of the case as unjust.

The appeal will argue that the law cited by authorities is invalid because it applies to a constitution that the military-led government abolished two decades ago, said Suu Kyi's head lawyer, Kyi Win.

Suu Kyi and her two female companions returned to her tightly guarded home the day she was convicted. Lawyers are also appealing the conviction of the two companions.

The Nobel laureate has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years for her nonviolent political activities, but this was the first time she faced criminal charges.

The American, John Yettaw, was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released on humanitarian grounds and deported on Aug. 16.

Suu Kyi's sentence ensures she cannot participate in elections scheduled for next year. Her party swept the last elections in 1990 but the results were never honored by the military, which has ruled the country since 1962.