Monday, May 25, 2009

Suu Kyi’s trial will not end simply: Win Tin

by Mungpi

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday will be produced before the special court in Insein jail and will be asked to give her testimony, in a trial, where she has been charged for breaching her detention law, her lawyer said.

Nyan Win, one of the defence counsels, said the court on Monday concluded the hearing of prosecution witnesses, as the prosecution withdrew nine witnesses, and has fixed Tuesday for the accused, Aung San Suu Kyi, to give her testimony.

“Tomorrow, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will give her testimony to the court and we will also submit a list of witnesses as defence counsels. We have primarily selected Win Tin, Tin Oo, Kyi Win and Daw Khin Moe Moe as witnesses for the accused,” said Nyan Win, adding that the list could expand or even be reduced depending on the situation.

Burma’s democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been accused of breaching her detention law by accepting an uninvited American man, who allegedly swam across the Inya Lake and entered her house.

She was charged under section 22 of the penal code of Burma’s 1974 constitution, but her lawyer said, the authorities are using conflicting laws, as his understanding was that the 1974 constitution has been nullified by the junta’s 2008 constitution.

In order to clarify his doubts, when lawyer Nyan Win asked the prosecutor whether Burma is using a dual constitution, the judge overruled the questions saying it was irrelevant.

“Yes, I did ask the question as I am confused whether we have two constitutions but the judge overruled the question,” Nyan Win told Mizzima.

Speedy trial

Nyan Win said, the case seems to be moving at a fast pace and that he fears the regime wants to end it as quickly as possible and sentence Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since the first court hearing on May 18, the trial has been conducted on a day-to-day basis. And by the sixth-day of the trial, the court concluded the hearing of prosecution witnesses.

Nyan Win earlier told Mizzima that the trial is likely to take about two to three months, but on Monday he said his predictions were likely to be wrong.

Win Tin, veteran journalist and central committee member of the NLD, said the junta wants to conclude everything as quickly as possible and sentence Aung San Suu Kyi to another five years.

“It is quite obvious that the junta is doing things as fast as possible because they want to finish the trial and sentence her to another five years, if not more,” Win Tin told Mizzima.

The junta’s ploy is to put the Nobel Peace Laureate away from the public scene before the ensuing 2010 elections.

Ineffective International outcry

The trial against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has attracted outbursts by several governments across the world and even made the United Nations Security Council issue a press statement. But Win Tin, a veteran journalists and central committee member of the NLD said nothing much will change because of this.

He said the Burmese junta does have a fair understanding that there will be outbursts which are rhetorical in nature by the international community.

“But this is well-planned. And the government will not make a move unless they know where the end would be,” he said.

He said it is impossible for the junta not to notice Mr. John William Yettaw swimming across the Innya Lake and entering Aung San Suu Kyi’s house. And since this is his second time, it is only obvious that the junta had planned the ploy.

Following the charges against Burma’s democracy icon and her trial, the international community including the UN and the Security Council issued statements of condemnation and urged the junta to immediately release her.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, last week, indicated that he wished to pay a visit to Burma as soon as possible to talk to the military junta on the trial against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi but he has not mentioned how soon he can make the visit.

While welcoming the interests of the international community on Burma, Win Tin said, Ban Ki-moon’s visit itself will not have much effect as the junta is determined.

Critics, meanwhile, said the international community has been making rhetorical condemnation of the junta’s actions, but nothing much really has changed as the outbursts are rarely turned into action.

On Monday, European and Asian foreign ministers kicked-off a two-day meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. Reports, quoting diplomats, suggest that the Burmese issue is likely to be widely discussed among the ministers at the sidelines of the meeting.

But on Monday, Burma rejected a statement issued by Thailand as the chair of the 10-nations grouping of Association of Southeast Asian Nations on the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi saying it is against the tradition of the grouping.

Public Anger

However, Win Tin said, the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi has ingited public anger and it would not be wise for the government to underestimate the level of peoples’ anger.

“As I sit in front of the Insein Bazaar everyday of the trial, I have seen the peoples’ anger, particularly among the youth. They have asked me what they should do? Or would they be sitting all day without taking any action?” he asked.

While he said he cannot definitely tell what might happen, but if the junta sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi, it would really bring out the anger in the people.

“This time, I am sure, it will not be just another story of the junta’s injustice, because the level of anger among the people is high. And the junta cannot expect the people to simply disperse, after they sentence Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It will not be as simple as just drawing the curtain,” he added.

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