YANGON - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi testified at her prison trial on Tuesday as the nation's military regime tried again to justify a case that has enraged the West and annoyed its neighbors.
The junta lifted her current house arrest a day before it expired on Wednesday. But Suu Kyi remains in detention while her trial on charges of breaking the terms of that order continues.
The Nobel peace laureate faces up to five years in jail if convicted for allowing an American intruder to stay at her home for two days in early May. She has denied the charges.
The house arrest has been lifted, but she is still under detention, Nyan Win, one of her lawyers, told reporters after Tuesday's session inside Yangon's notorious Insein prison.
I don't know whether to be happy or sorry, he said.
In her first testimony since the trial began a week ago, Suu Kyi said the intruder, 53-year-old John Yettaw, arrived at her Yangon home early on May 4 after swimming across Inya Lake.
I just allowed him to stay for a while, she said, according to witnesses in the court.
Yettaw, who claims he dreamt that Suu Kyi's life was in danger, left before midnight the next day, she said.
Asked by Judge Thaung Nyunt if she reported him to authorities, Suu Kyi replied: No, I did not.
Her lawyers say she allowed him to stay for humanitarian reasons after he complained of leg cramps from the swim.
Earlier, the regime gave its latest justification for the trial, which has been widely condemned as a sham to keep the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader in detention during elections next year.
Police Brigadier General Myint Thein said authorities considered freeing Suu Kyi before she allowed Yettaw to stay at her home, talked to him and provided him with food and clothes.
These things infringed on existing law and we unavoidably and regretfully had to take legal action against her, he told a group of diplomats and journalists.
They were allowed to watch the trial on Tuesday, the second time it has been opened in a rare concession to critics outside the former Burma.
Asian and European (ASEM) foreign ministers meeting in Hanoi called for the early release of those under detention and the lifting of restrictions placed on political parties.
Suu Kyi, one of more than 2,000 political prisoners in Myanmar, has been incarcerated for more than 13 of the past 19 years. Most of it has been spent at her lakeside Yangon home under police guard, her mail intercepted and visitors restricted.
Swedish Foreign Ministers Carl Bildt said the ASEM communique went beyond anything previously endorsed by China or Vietnam.
It's a substantial increase on the political pressure on the regime in Burma, he said.
The generals have typically ignored Western threats of tougher sanctions since the trial began, but bristled at criticism from their regional neighbors.
State media accused Thailand, the current chair of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Myanmar, of meddling after Bangkok said the trial threatened Myanmar's honor and credibility.
The regime insists Suu Kyi will get a fair trial, but analysts say the courts have a long history of stretching laws to suit the generals. Diplomats say the trial appears scripted.
Suu Kyi and her two female housemates are charged with breaking her detention under a security law that protects the state from subversive acts.
Yettaw, who used homemade flippers to swim to Suu Kyi's home, is charged with immigration violations, illegal swimming and breaking the same security law. He is due to testify on Wednesday.