There are two schools of thought regarding the fate of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmese pro-democracy icon who today is scheduled to hear the verdict in the latest case brought against her by the military junta. There are pockets of optimism both inside and outside the country. Some civil servants, journalists and mid-ranking military officials believe the ruling generals may spring a surprise by simply returning Ms Suu Kyi to house arrest, perhaps even with enhanced freedoms. But such voices of hope remain in the minority. Most observers expect nothing less than a verdict and sentence that will validate the continued strict detention of a woman who has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest. She faces up to five more years in prison if convicted of breaching the terms of her existing detention. 'There is no deal or anything like that,' a senior Western diplomat said. 'This decision all depends on the mind of one man - [junta chief ] General Than Shwe. And anyone who tells you they can read him is lying.' Senior General Than Shwe has faced public pressure from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Western governments, and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and, behind the scenes, from traditionally supportive countries, including China, India and Russia. Beijing has privately voiced repeated concern that mistreatment of Ms Suu Kyi could deepen instability between the junta and opposition forces, further dashing hopes of national reconciliation, according to diplomats. Few are expecting any breakthroughs, however, citing General Than Shwe's insularity and deepening sense of paranoia. The pessimism is shared by Ms Suu Kyi and her lawyer. While she has buoyed supporters with signs of fighting spirit during the trial, she has also referred to the outcome as inevitable. The dark mood is fed daily by the ruling generals' media mouthpieces, which for weeks have served up rambling commentaries defending the independence of Myanmar's junta-controlled courts. Last Thursday's state-controlled Myanma Ahlin described calls for Ms Suu Kyi's release as 'interference' and 'showing reckless disregard for the law'. Even by the standards of the junta's courts, the case has been one of the strangest in years. Ms Suu Kyi and her two housekeepers were charged over the bizarre, uninvited visit in May by American Mormon John Yettaw. He swam Inya Lake at night to reach Ms Suu Kyi's waterside compound. Insisting he was weak from diabetes, he stayed two nights in the grounds. Ms Suu Kyi did not let him into her house but instructed her housekeepers to feed him. He has been charged and tried along with Ms Suu Kyi. His intrusion came just as her house arrest was due to expire. A military veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress and other disorders, Yettaw has been in intensive care in Yangon General Hospital over the past week after suffering epileptic fits. Even though he was released from hospital yesterday, his health could force a further delay to today's verdict, diplomats believe, as it is unlikely Ms Suu Kyi or her housekeepers would be sentenced without him present. The US is reviewing policies towards Myanmar. The verdict also comes ahead of a visit this weekend by US Senator Jim Webb - the first US congressional figure to visit the country in more than a decade. It is diplomatic pressure such as this that the optimists suggest may yield a positive result for Ms Suu Kyi. They believe that the junta understands that jailing her, or even further tightening restrictions, would be unnecessarily provocative ahead of elections next year. General Than Shwe is known to crave the election of junta-friendly figures to snare the legitimacy long denied the military's political leadership. 'Many military and government workers would not tolerate putting the lady in prison, or even in some gilded cage in a prison compound. It would be a terrible humiliation for the daughter of a military hero,' a civil servant said, referring to her late father, independence hero Aung San. But the senior Western diplomat cited earlier regards such an estimation as optimistic. 'One certainty we do know is the hatred [General Than Shwe] feels for everything Aung San Suu Kyi stands for. She is a glamorous, courageous member of the old elite who wants what is best for her nation. He, you could say, is the exact reverse - and it is Aung San Suu Kyi who has legitimacy.'