Monday, May 18, 2009

Police Officer Testifies in Suu Kyi Trial

The Irrawaddy News

The first witness called by the prosecution on Monday was a police official, said National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win, who is also a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team.

The police official testified that Suu Kyi—in flaunting the law governing personal restrictions enforced on her in 2003—had broken the terms of her house arrest, said Nyan Win, although he was unable to provide further details of the police official’s testimony or his position within the police force.

The NLD spokesman confirmed that the defense team had sufficient time to question the witness.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Monday afternoon after attending the opening day of the trial of Suu Kyi in Insein Prison, Nyan Win said that proceedings had begun at 10 a.m. and finished at about 2 p.m., before being adjourned until the following day.

Two NLD members, Khin Khin Win and her daughter Win Ma Ma, who have acted as Suu Kyi’s caretakers in recent years, as well as John William Yettaw—an American tourist who allegedly sneaked into Suu Kyi’s lakeside home on May 3—also appeared in court on Monday, said Nyan Win.

There are 22 prosecution witnesses, all of whom will be questioned, said the NLD spokesman.
However, he said that he was worried about the process of the trial as the military court usually takes orders directly from the ruling junta.

“From our experience of the Burmese courts, they usually do what the regime orders,” said Nyan Win. “I’m worried about this situation.”

Suu Kyi faces a maximum of five years imprisonment if she is convicted of violating the terms of her house arrest by harboring the American intruder, who apparently swam two kilometers across Inya Lake to interview the 63-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

It is obvious that the junta is attempting to prevent Suu Kyi from participating in the upcoming election in 2010, said the NLD spokesman.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people—mostly NLD supporters—gathered outside Insein Prison on Monday during Suu Kyi’s trial, said Win Tin, a leading member of the NLD.

However, security forces were able to control the rally and persuaded the crowd not to protest, said Win Tin.

Rangoon sources said that security forces were beefed up on Monday around Insein Prison and on roads leading into the area. Shopkeepers near the prison had earlier been ordered by the authorities to close their premises.

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