July 17, 2008 / 9:46 AM / in 10 years

Myanmar court charges 14 for Suu Kyi protest

YANGON (Reuters) - A Myanmar court has charged 14 people for causing “public offence” during a protest marking the birthday of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a defence lawyer said on Thursday. The group, arrested by pro-junta thugs outside the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) on June 19, were also charged with unlawful assembly on Wednesday, NLD lawyer Aung Thein said.

“Three lawyers have received powers of attorney to defend them,” he told Reuters.

The group had demanded the release of Suu Kyi, whose house arrest was extended in May despite international pressure on the military, which has ruled the former Burma since 1962.

The Nobel peace laureate has been confined to her Yangon home for nearly 13 of the past 19 years, with her latest detention beginning in May 2003.

Last week, a popular local blogger was also charged with causing “public offence” by posting caricatures of the country’s ruling generals on the Internet.

The junta was caught by surprise last year when bloggers and citizen journalists relayed pictures and video to the outside world of the regime’s crackdown on monk-led protests against military rule and economic hardship.

Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Darren Schuettler

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