Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thirty Diplomats, Ten Reporters Attend Suu Kyi Trial

The Irrawaddy News

Thirty diplomats and 10 journalists were allowed to attend the third day of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial in Rangoon’s Insein Prison on Wednesday.

Suu Kyi thanked them for coming and for their support, the journalists reported.

Three of the diplomats were allowed to meet Suu Kyi briefly at the conclusion of Wednesday’s proceedings. The three were the Ambassador of Singapore, who is doyen of the diplomatic corps in Burma, and senior Russian and Thai diplomats.

A British diplomat, requesting anonymity, told The Irrawaddy that the Russian ambassador had been invited because his country is currently president of the UN Security Council, while Thailand has the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Britain’s ambassador, Mark Canning, said the court displayed all the customary legal “paraphernalia,” but he doubted whether Suu Kyi would receive a fair trial. “I think this is a story where the conclusion is already scripted,” he told the BBC.

Canning, who did not meet Suu Kyi, said: “She was composed, upright, crackling with energy…very much in charge of her defense team.”

One journalist said Suu Kyi had appeared “as calm as ever.”

One prosecution witness, a police official, gave evidence on Wednesday. Two women were asked by the prosecution to display some religious robes allegedly left at Suu Kyi’s house by the American, John William Yettaw, who is accused of illegally staying in her home.

Five Burmese journalists working for foreign news agencies, including AFP and Reuters, and five who work for local journals and magazines—Myanmar Times, Snap Shot, The Yangon Times, Popular Journal and Weekly Eleven—were permitted to attend the trail.

The five local journalists, chosen by the Burmese authorities, work for publications that have a close working relationship with the Information Ministry.

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