Thursday, May 28, 2009

Myanmar says Suu Kyi trial not political

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar's ruling junta insisted that the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi was not political and was in line with the law, as lawyers said the internationally condemned proceedings were nearing an end.

The military-ruled nation's foreign ministry issued a statement in response to a call by the United Nations Security Council last week for the release of political prisoners and talks with the pro-democracy icon.

The Nobel Laureate faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest stemming from an incident in which a religiously inspired American swam across a lake to her home this month.

"Legal action in accordance with the law has been taken unavoidably," the government mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar newspaper quoted the ministry's statement as saying in reference to the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Such action will not have any political impact and, thus, in accordance with law will be considered and carried out as the task relating to the rule of law."

The statement said the Myanmar government was continuing with its "roadmap" to democracy, culminating in elections in 2010, which critics have derided as a sham designed to entrench the power of the generals. (JEG's: meanwhile eliminating the negative element is a must before elections)

"The government is determined to continue hand-in-hand with the people to implementing the... roadmap in accordance with the aspirations of the people," the statement added. (JEG's: with criminals on the loose to make sure everything runs smooth according to plan)

The UN Security Council statement issued last Friday expressed "concern about the political impact of recent developments related to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi."

But international reaction has been much stronger, especially from the West.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said Aung San Suu Kyi was the victim of a spurious "show trial" and urged the junta to free her immediately and unconditionally.

The sole defence witness in the case was set to testify later Thursday after the court barred the only other three people called by Aung San Suu Kyi. The prosecution was allowed to call 23 witnesses but used only 14.

Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer and party spokesman, Nyan Win, said the verdict could come as soon as Friday.

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