YANGON – A verdict in the trial of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will come on Friday, a court official said, after her lawyers wrapped up their final arguments in the widely condemned case against her on security charges.
The official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters that her trial had been completed, although cases against three other defendants are continuing.
Journalists have been banned from attending the trial, but a handful of foreign diplomats have been invited occasionally as observers.
A guilty verdict is widely expected in the former Burma, where the courts have in the past been known to favor the ruling military junta. It was not clear if any sentence would come on Friday.
We have done our best and she is prepared for the worst, Suu Kyi's lawyer, Nyan Win, told reporters. We don't want to speculate, but we will keep exploring all legal avenues.
Suu Kyi, 64, is on trial for allowing American intruder John Yettaw to stay at her Yangon home in May, when she was under house arrest. He had evaded security to swim across the Inya lake to the house.
She faces five years in prison if convicted.
A spokesman for Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the premier had postponed a trip to Myanmar planned for Friday.
The Myanmar government told Abhisit to scrap his visit because it had an important engagement, Panitan Wattanayagorn told reporters in Bangkok.
I think the reason for this postponement may come from the fact that Myanmar judges will issue a verdict on Daw Suu Kyi's trial on that day, Panitan added.
Before Tuesday's court proceedings, Suu Kyi's lawyer Nyan Win said the prosecution's final arguments were flawed.
It isn't a sound argument if looked at from the legal angle, he added.
The defense's request for an official from Myanmar's Foreign Ministry to appear in court on Tuesday had been rejected, Nyan Win said.
He had hoped to argue that Suu Kyi had not breached any house arrest terms because, officially, she was only being held in protective custody.
With final arguments in Suu Kyi's case over, the court reconvened on Tuesday afternoon to hear counter-arguments in defense of Yettaw and two of the Nobel laureate's housemaids, who are all charged under the same security law.
Their lawyers say the legislation, drafted by the junta to protect the state from subversive elements, is not even applicable since it was abolished several decades ago.
The international community has expressed outrage at the trial, demanding the case be scrapped and dismissing it as an effort by the junta to keep Suu Kyi out of next year's elections.
The National League for Democracy leader has spent 14 of the last 20 years in detention, mostly under house arrest.
Critics are concerned next year's polls will be rigged to give legitimacy to the regime and entrench nearly half a century of army rule.
Suu Kyi was awarded the title of Ambassador of Conscience by rights group Amnesty International on Monday for being a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defense of human rights around the world.
(Additional reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak in Bangkok; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Alan Raybould and Sanjeev Miglani)