Suu Kyi Launches Appeal as Junta Frees 7K Cons

Detained Burmese leader seeks to overturn extension of house arrest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2009 5:33 AM CDT
A man rows past the lakeside home of Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, Burma. She has been under house arrest for much of the last 20 years.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)
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(Newser) – Lawyers for detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi today appealed her recent conviction that extended her years of house arrest, a day after the ruling junta announced it was releasing thousands of prisoners. Reporters were banned from the hearing, where her lawyers insisted that the law under which she was convicted is invalid because it applies to a constitution abolished 2 decades ago.

The move comes just after the ruling junta announced it would release 7,114 convicts from prisons across the country today, either for good behavior or on humanitarian grounds. It was not immediately known if they included political detainees. A mass release had been anticipated for months, but the timing appeared to be partially aimed at distracting attention from Suu Kyi's hearing. The Nobel Prize winner received a commuted sentence of another 18 months' detention in August after a widely criticized trial. The court will deliver a verdict Oct. 2.