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House arrest lifted, Suu Kyi still facing jail

Burma has officially ended Aung San Suu Kyi's six-year house arrest, but she remains in jail facing charges over an incident in which a US man swam to her house, her party said.

The news came as Ms Suu Kyi was on the witness stand on day seven of the trial against her, telling the judges that she was not immediately aware of John Yettaw's presence in her house on May 4.

She told the court she was informed by her house staff early on that day.

Yettaw is an American ex-serviceman who spent two nights in her home, despite requests for him to leave.

He is also on trial for breaching Burma's security regulations.

She has already spent more than 13 years in detention since winning national elections almost 20 years ago.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy (NLD), said a senior policeman gave Ms Suu Kyi papers notifying her that the restriction orders keeping her at her lakeside home had been lifted.

But Mr Win said her supporters "don't know whether we should be happy or sad" since she is currently held at Rangoon's notorious Insein prison facing a five-year jail term on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest.

"Police Brigadier General Myint Thein came to the prison and read out an order cancelling the continued restriction order, released and dated today. They gave one copy to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," he told reporters.

"It means that she is free from detention" under the relevant section of Burma's Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements, he said.

Her lawyers had argued that her six years under house arrest were due to expire Wednesday, and pointed to a UN panel's ruling that her house arrest was already illegal under both Burmese and international law.

Myint Thein, the police official, had told reporters and diplomats just hours before the order was lifted the military regime had the legal right to keep Ms Kyi under house arrest for another six months.

"We don't know whether we should be happy or sad, because she is still in detention on these charges. I cannot guess the verdict but according to the law she should be completely free," Nyan Win said.

Some foreign diplomats and journalists were allowed inside the Insein Prison to observe the trial.

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