No lawyer for Suu Kyi

The 63-year-old Nobel laureate has spent most of the past 19 years under house arrest in Rangoon and she sent her first appeal in October to the cabinet in the country's new capital, Naypyidaw.

She approved a final draft of the appeal against her detention at her lakeside home during a meeting with her lawyer, Kyi Win, in September, and he asked for permission to meet her last week.

"The authorities summoned lawyer Kyi Win on Tuesday and told him that there is no need to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi as the cabinet is working on her appeal case," Nyan Win, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy, told AFP.

"They did not tell him details. We are also thinking about their message. We cannot guess whether they can release her or not," he said.

"Lawyers are preparing to be ready whenever they start her appeal case."

Aung San Suu Kyi rarely meets anyone except her lawyer and doctor. In August she refused a visit from United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari, apparently in protest at the lack of progress he was making on reform in Burma.

In September she was given an intravenous drip for malnourishment by her doctor after refusing food deliveries for a month.

"As far as we know, she was in good health after doctor Tin Myo Win visited last week," Nyan Win said.

Meanwhile, a senior NLD member and journalist, Ohn Kyaing, was released Thursday after he was detained for more than nine weeks.

"He arrived back at his home yesterday afternoon. He was in good health. He was mostly questioned by the authorities about helping activities for Cyclone Nargis victims. He was released as he has no guilt," Nyan Win told AFP.

Ohn Kyaing was arrested in October while working as a chairman of the relief committee for Cyclone Nargis at the NLD headquarters in Rangoon. The cyclone in May left 138,000 people dead or missing.

About 270 democracy activists including monks, student leaders and NLD members were handed long jail terms in recent weeks for their roles in last year's anti-junta protests and for helping cyclone victims.

"About half of the 270 activists who were sentenced since November were NLD members," Nyan Win told AFP.

Aung San Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory in 1990 elections but the junta which has ruled the country since 1962 never allowed it to take office. (AFP)