Myanmar Court Allows Suu Kyi to Appeal

Myanmar's Supreme Court said Friday that it will allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to appeal the extension of her house arrest, giving her a chance to fight the detention that would keep her locked away during elections next year.

The court set a Dec. 21 hearing for Nobel Peace Prize laureate's appeal, according to an announcement on its public notice board.

Suu Kyi was convicted in August of violating her house arrest by briefly sheltering an American intruder and ordered to serve an additional 18 months of confinement in her dilapidated lakeside home.

The trial was widely criticized by the international community and human rights groups who have repeatedly called on the junta to release Suu Kyi, who has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years.

Suu Kyi's sentence ensures she cannot participate in Myanmar's first elections in two decades that are 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.

The Yangon Divisional Court rejected an initial appeal in October.

Defense lawyer Nyan Win said Suu Kyi's legal team met with her last week at her home to finalize their arguments for the appeal.

The political climate has changed since Suu Kyi's conviction, with the United States announcing that it is modifying its strict policy of isolating Myanmar's military government and will instead try to engage it through high-level talks.

Myanmar's junta has praised the new U.S. policy but shown no sign it intends to release Suu Kyi or initiate the democratic and electoral reforms demanded by her party ahead of the elections.