Burma's Suu Kyi loses final court appeal

Lawyers for Burma's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi say a court has rejected her final appeal against her house arrest conviction.

Burma's democracy icon may soon be freed, despite decision

Burma's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi appears on a poster in front of the office of the National League for Democracy in Yangon. ((Soe Zeya Tun/Associated Press))

Lawyers for Burma's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi say a court on Thursday has rejected her final appeal against her house arrest conviction.

But her close aides remained optimistic she will soon be granted freedom from house arrest in the military-ruled country, also known as Myanmar.

The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner is due to complete her sentence on Saturday, nearly a week after the country held elections that excluded Suu Kyi and were widely criticized as a sham.

The junta has not confirmed she will be set free, but government officials have quietly said they are making "necessary security preparations" for this weekend.

Suu Kyi already has indicated she may re-enter the political fray, saying through lawyers she would investigate allegations of fraud in the election once released, meaning she may run afoul of the government again soon.

Kim Aris, the youngest of Suu Kyi's two sons, also was granted a Burmese visa this week, said her lawyer Nyan Win, in an indication he will be allowed to see his mother for the first time in 10 years. The 33-year-old Aris lives in Britain and has repeatedly been denied visas for years.

Suu Kyi has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years but was never convicted of a crime until August 2009. She was sentenced to 18 months of additional house arrest for violating an earlier period of house arrest by briefly sheltering an uninvited American who swam to her home.

Suu Kyi had already lost two previous appeals against the conviction and had filed a final appeal to the Special Appellate Bench in the remote capital of Naypyitaw.

The court posted its decision Thursday on a public notice board in Yagon, saying only that the appeal was turned down and giving no explanation, Nyan Win said.