Monday, May 18, 2009

Hundreds Gather as Suu Kyi Trial Starts

The Irrawaddy News

Hundreds of people, including members of Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) gathered outside Rangoon’s Insein Prison on Monday morning as the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi got under way in a special court.

The ambassadors of four European countries were refused entry to the prison to attend the trial, reported the AFP news agency, quoting an unnamed diplomat.

A Police car near Insein Prison on Monday (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Kyi Win, said he planned to ask for the trial to be held in public. Suu Kyi is also being represented by lawyers Khin Htay Kywe and Nyan Win.

Kyi Win said 22 prosecution witnesses, including police officers, would be called. He said Suu Kyi’s family doctor, Tin Myo Win, who was arrested by Burmese authorities the day after the discovery that an American intruder had entered her house, would not be called to give evidence.

Tin Myo Win was freed by Burmese authorities on Saturday, a member of his family reported.

The American intruder also reportedly went on trial on Monday, but no details were officially disclosed.

Suu Kyi faces a sentence of up to five years imprisonment if found guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest by allegedly harboring the American.

Rangoon sources reported that security had been stepped up around Insein Prison and on roads leading to the area. Shopkeepers in the immediate area had also been ordered by the authorities to close their premises. Phone lines were cut, the sources said.

NLD member Kyin Toe said security forces had been deployed around the homes of opposition members, including his own. Some NLD members reported their movements were being followed by security agents.

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