Monday, June 15, 2009

‘We can’t leave out Depayin:’ Suu Kyi's Lawyer


Aung San Suu Kyi’s lead lawyer, Kyi Wynn, remains optimistic that Burma’s High Court will next week grant his appeal to reinstate two key defense witnesses in the bizarre trial being held in the notorious Insein Prison special court in Rangoon.

The District Court trying Suu Kyi had allowed only one of four defense witnesses to take the stand.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy, Kyi Wynn said that he had wanted Win Tin and Tin Oo to be called as defense witnesses, but they were rejected by the lower court.

The high court is expected to rule on the appeal on Wednesday, allowing for the trial to resume.

Win Tin is a senior party member of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. Tin Oo is a former commander-in-chief of the armed forces and is currently under house arrest.

Suu Kyi has called the charges against her “politically motivated.”

Kyi Wynn said that defense lawyers could not leave out the notorious Depayin Massacre in which Suu Kyi’s motorcade and supporters were ambushed in May 2003. Since that date, Suu Kyi has been detained.

She was charged under Section 7 of the State Protection Law which says, “The [military] Cabinet is authorized to pass an order, as may be necessary, restricting any fundamental rights of any person suspected of having committed or believed to be about to commit, any act which endangers the sovereignty and security of the state or public peace and tranquility.” Her attorneys plan to challenge the legality of that charge against her.

After Depayin, Suu Kyi asked for lawyers to represent her, but the request was denied.

Shortly after the attack, Suu Kyi opened the case at the local police station in central Burma where the attack took place. But no action was taken against thugs backed by the regime. Instead Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest.

Lawyers now indicate that Suu Kyi’s detention in May 2003 could be considered illegal, and they sought to call Tin Oo, who accompanied Suu Kyi during her trip in May 2003, as a defense witness.

Suu Kyi had visited several towns where she encountered large crowds, but they were peaceful and welcomed her entourage in orderly fashion, said her lawyer.

Tin Oo, who witnessed the attack, wanted to testify in court, said a dissident political source in Rangoon.

The former defense minister in the 1970s is a staunch supporter of political change in Burma and currently vice chairman of the election-winning NLD party. A political source said that he has closely followed the trial on the radio.

Lawyers said that his testimony would last one day. “He would talk turkey [at the court],” said Kyi Wynn.

“I don’t think she [Suu Kyi] was trying to endanger the sovereignty and security of the state or public peace and tranquility,” Kyi Wynn said, referring to the motorcade.

It is widely believed that the regime’s leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and hard-line ministers were behind the deadly ambush attack on the motorcade.

There was no independent investigation set up after the ambush, which led to the death of numbers of Suu Kyi’s supporters.

Kyi Wynn said that Suu Kyi and her lawyers had no intention to prolong the trial. He said that the court proceedings should end in July.

While Suu Kyi has said that the case against her is politically motivated, she has also repeatedly said that there is no rule of law in Burma. Analysts contend that her lawyers want to demonstrate the country’s lack of rule of law.

Suu Kyi was charged with violating the terms of her house arrest after an uninvited American man swam secretly to her closely guarded lakeside home last month and stayed two days.

If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison.

It is widely expected that Suu Kyi will be found guilty because courts in Burma are known for handing out harsh sentences to political dissidents.

Suu Kyi, 63, has been detained under house arrest for more than 13 of the last 19 years. She was transferred to Insein Prison on May 14. Her lawyers also argue that since the regime lifted the restriction of her house arrest in May, she is now a free person and there is no reason to detain her. Her current detention in Insein Prison should be considered illegal, said her lawyers.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too