Thursday, May 21, 2009

Court access for diplomats merely ‘a gesture’

(DVB)–Burma opposition party, the National League for Democracy, have said that allowing diplomats to observe Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial was merely a “gesture” and still falls short of making it an open trial.

In a statement released yesterday, the NLD, whose leader Suu Kyi is facing charges of breaching conditions of her house arrest, denounced the trial and said that proceedings were not consistent with the regulations of the court.

NLD Central Executive Committee Member Win Tin added that allowing journalists and diplomats into the courtroom did not make it a free and fair trial.

“This is merely a thing the government do similar to when they invite foreign diplomats to events where they destroy confiscated drugs in a gesture to convince them they are doing things properly.”

Similarly, the secretary of the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament said that it was a superficial move aimed only at convincing people that the trial is fair.

“In reality, the court should let the NLD and the family members of [Suu Kyi], and reporters from the media inside and outside of the country to enter it and study its procedures, in order to make it an open trial,” said Aye Thar Aung.

One of the diplomats allowed inside the courtroom yesterday, Britain’s Mark Canning, told the BBC that the move was welcomed but did little to alter the reality of the situation.

"All the paraphernalia of the courtroom was there, the judges, the prosecution, the defense,” he said.

“But I think this is a story where the conclusion is already scripted."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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