The ruling military junta took the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from her home on Thursday to Rangoon's notorious Insein prison, where she was charged over a bizarre incident in which an American man swam to her lakeside residence.
The United States led Western calls for her immediate release while rights groups urged the UN Security Council to intervene to help the 63-year-old, whose trial is due to start at the prison on Monday. ....
Burmese authorities are currently holding Aung San Suu Kyi and her two maids, who were also charged, at a house inside the grounds of Insein Prison pending the trial, her lawyers have said.
Stopped by the junta from taking power after leading her National League for Democracy Party from winning a landslide victory in the country's last election in 1990, she now faces a maximum jail term of five years.
The case centred around a mysterious US national, John Yettaw, who was arrested last week after using a pair of homemade flippers to swim across a lake to Aung San Suu Kyi's crumbling house. ...<cont>
The 63-year-old was arrested after a visit from John Yettaw, a mysterious American who made wooden flippers and swam across the lake which backs onto her home.
She was charged with breaching her home detention, which was meant to run out next month.
Ms Suu Kyi's attorney, Jared Genser, says the charges are patently ridiculous and the unwanted visitor is a mystery.
"What we know about him from news reports is that he's a devout Mormon, that he is a Vietnam veteran, and that ... he may not be entirely all there from an emotional standpoint," he said.
Ms Suu Kyi has been detained for most of the time since she won the 1990 election, and now Burma is preparing for the first national elections since then.
The 63-year-old is still enormously popular in Burma, and when she is allowed out, pulls a large crowd of supporters.
Mr Genser told Radio National the junta is more scared of Ms Suu Kyi's influence than it is of world condemnation, but Burma is playing a risky game.
"I don't think that they're going to listen to an outcry. The question is whether they have overplayed their hand here," he said.
"If they actually proceed to sentence her to that kind of time in prison, I think that it will be very difficult for allies of the junta, you know, particularly some of its allies in ASEAN - China, India and others - to defend this kind of behaviour." ....
In Burma, things just go from bad to worse. Last week, the country's revered democracy leader and Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was taken ill. Her doctor reported she was short of breath, had low blood pressure and was needing an IV drip. That was just before he was detained. Then there was news of an American who had swum to Suu Kyi's house and stayed for two nights in her basement. Now Suu Kyi has been taken to the notorious Insein prison to be tried on trumped-up charges.
To anyone with even a passing notion of Burma's Orwellian political context, this latest development is oddly predictable, even given the surreal circumstances. To reach an understanding of this awful turn of events, one has only to reach back a few months. In April, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Aung San Suu Kyi's incarceration was not only in violation of international law, it is in contravention of Burmese law. Since then, it has been incumbent on the Burmese military regime to find a means to justify the country's leading democracy figure's continued imprisonment. This compulsion became particularly pressing as Suu Kyi's current period of detention was scheduled to end on 27 May.
Desperately reaching for an excuse to bounce the country's legitimate democratic leader into prison, the regime has cooked up a bizarre scheme to use the visit by John Yettaw and to then apply Article 22 of the State Protection Law, which prohibits any Burmese to accept a foreign visitor " even an uninvited one " for an overnight stay without state permission. No mention of the fact that it is the regime who should be on trial for failing to protect a prisoner under their watch. The trial looks set to drag on for days. It will take place behind closed doors, of course, and will likely be removed from any connection to basic legal due process.
Aung San Suu Kyi's fate mirrors that of Burma's many other political prisoners. There are now some 2,100 in Burmese prisons, and each and every one has landed there on the back of unfounded charges and hollow legal processes. .... <cont>
Special security forces are on alert around Insein Prison, where the trial is taking place.
Roads were blockaded to prevent public gatherings of support for Ms Suu Kyi, who is being tried for breaching the terms of her home detention.
Earlier this month, American tourist John Yettaw was arrested after spending two nights with her.
He had swum across a lake and refused to leave, despite requests by Ms Suu Kyi and her staff.
The ABC understands several hundred supporters were able to get close to the prison.
It is understood some of them have been arrested.
Nearby businesses were reportedly told to shut for the day.
A group of western diplomats, including one from Australia, reportedly tried to attend the hearing but were turned away.
The media has been denied access as well.
There are also reports that telephone and internet services have been disconnected.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has repeated its call for Burma's military rulers to release Ms Suu Kyi.
The 63-year old Nobel Laureate won national elections in 1990 but has never been allowed to hold office and has been under house arrest for more than 13 of the past 19 years.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says he is deeply concerned by the charges and says the Government wants to see Ms Suu Kyi's immediate and unconditional release.
Aung Thein says he received a letter from the authorities on Friday (local time) saying he was dismissed from the Burmese lawyers association because of an earlier sentence for contempt of court.
"The dismissal letter from Naypyidaw (the administrative capital) was sent to me last night. I had been sentenced for four months because of contempt of court, that's why they dismissed me," Aung Thein said.
Aung Thein, who is part of the legal team for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, says he had attended the notorious Insein prison on Thursday to seek to represent the 63-year-old. .......
........."I feel really sorry for her that I cannot stand with her strongly [in court]," Aung Thein 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 Yangon'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.
Lawyers representing Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's detained opposition leader, have expressed optimism about her case, despite only one defence witness being allowed to testify in her trial on charges of violating her house arrest.
The court was in recess on Friday, but closing arguments for the case that could send the Nobel Peace laureate to prison for up to five years are set to be heard on Monday.
Aung San Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest, stemming from an incident earlier this month when an American man sneaked into her home and stayed there for two days.
Nyan Win, one of Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers, said on Thursday he was "very confident of victory if the trial is carried out according to law".
The defence has argued there is no legal basis for the charges against her and on Thursday Kyi Win, a legal expert and the sole defence witness to appear in the case, told the court that the charge was unlawful.
The charge against Aung San Suu Kyi cites a 1975 state security law, not the more narrowly defined confinement order for her house arrest, he said.
The law refers to Myanmar's 1974 constitution, which was annulled when the military took power in 1988, with a new charter adopted last year.
Speaking to reporters later, Kyi Win, who is a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), said prosecutors seemed very unhappy at his testimony. ....
Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the past 19 years under various forms of confinement, and when 53-year-old American John Yettaw swam to her lakeside home he effectively presented the ruling generals with the legal pretext to prolong it and exclude the National League for Democracy leader from taking part in next year's elections.
Even though the poll will be little more than a charade " the new parliament will be dominated by the military and military-friendly appointees " Suu Kyi's arrest and likely conviction is the inevitable consequence of the generals' determination to micromanage the outcome of the poll and eliminate any factors beyond its control. But, if Yettaw hadn't provided authorities with this timely, if spurious, justification, the regime would have found some other excuse to deny Suu Kyi's liberty (her house arrest had been due to end on May 27).
However, the most disturbing, and illuminating, lesson that can be drawn from this affair is that so great is the regime's fear of her extraordinary influence within the country that it is prepared to weather a barrage of criticism, and forfeit any potential gains from the mooted softening of US and international sanctions, to perpetuate its stranglehold on power.
With Suu Kyi's arrest and imprisonment the regime has again thumbed its nose at world opinion. ...<cont>
... Few details are available because of the secrecy surrounding the case, but the court was expected to hear from a new defence witness during today's proceedings.
Khin Moe Moe is a member of the National League for Democracy party, which Ms Suu Kyi leads.
Khin Moe Moe is only the second defence witness allowed to give evidence in the trial which began in mid-May.
The ABC understands diplomats tried to get inside the courtroom to monitor the trial, but were refused entry.
The trial is being held in the country's infamous Insein prison, where Ms Suu Kyi has been held since the military junta charged her with violating the rules related to her house arrest.
.....She faces up to five years in jail, if found guilty. The trial has been riddled with delays - seen as a tactic by the junta to divert international attention from the proceedings.