Friday, July 10, 2009

Court News

** Suu Kyi’s Long Friday
** Yettaw Admitted to Prison Hospital
** Security Tightened as Suu Kyi Trial Resumes

Suu Kyi’s Long Friday

The Irrawaddy News

The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent over six hours in court during her trial on Friday as government prosecutors questioned a defense witness, according to Suu Kyi’s lawyer.

“The trial started at 10 am, broke for one-hour from 12 pm to 1 pm, and then continued from 1 pm until 5 pm—it was long trial,” said Nyan Win, a lawyer for Suu Kyi.

Nyan Win said most of the trial on Friday was spent by prosecutors and defense lawyers arguing over whether Law Section 22 charging Suu Kyi was still in effect. Section 22 was enacted under the 1974 constitution, but the constitution was abolished by the current regime after the coup in September 1988.

Section 22 of the law safeguards the state against the dangers of those desiring to cause subversive acts. Suu Kyi has been charged under this section by Burmese authorities for allowing the American intruder John W Yettaw to stay at her house while she was under house arrest.

“Prosecutors argued that the law is still effective. But we denied this was the case because the 1974 constitution was abolished in 1988,” Nyan Win said.

The defense witness, Khin Moe Moe, who is also a lawyer, testified at the court today in relation to Section 22.

Suu Kyi has only been allowed one defense witness in the case, as Win Tin and Tin Oo, who are leaders of the National League for Democracy, were banned from testifying.

According Nyan Win, the court has set July 24 for hearing final arguments in the case.

If she is found guilty, Suu Kyi could face up to five years imprisonment.

Burmese observers say the junta is prosecuting Suu Kyi to show the world that they will not tolerate any outside interference.

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Yettaw Admitted to Prison Hospital

The Irrawaddy News

John William Yettaw, the American accused of unlawfully seeking refuge in Aung San Suu Kyi’s home, has been admitted to hospital in Rangoon’s Insein Prison after declining food for 49 days, according to his lawyer, Khin Maung Oo.

The lawyer told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that Yettaw is being fed intravenously. He said the 53-year-old American, a Mormon, had existed for seven weeks on only water for religious reasons.

Khin Maung Oo said Yettaw told him the Bible had instructed him to travel to Rangoon to protect Suu Kyi from assassination. He had had a vision of Suu Kyi’s home, the lawyer said.

Yettaw has been charged with violating Burma’s security and immigration laws after he allegedly swim across Inya Lake and entered Suu Kyi’s house in May. If convicted, he faces a sentence of between six months and five years imprisonment.

Khin Maung Oo said that when Suu Kyi discovered Yettaw outside her home she told him to respect and comply with the rule of law in Burma. “She gave him refuge because he was very weak when she found him,” the lawyer said. Yettaw suffers from diabetes.

Khin Maung Oo said Yettaw had acted without financial or political backing. He was a devout Mormon, guided by his Bible.

Yettaw’s wife Yvonne told the US magazine Newsweek that her husband apparently suffered from untreated bipolar and posttraumatic stress disorders and regarded himself as a man sent by God to protect foreign leaders whom he esteemed.

Yettaw saw service in Vietnam and receives disability payments from the US Veterans Affairs office. He has been pursuing studies in psychology.

The Burmese junta claims a Burmese opposition group was behind Yettaw’s action.
(JEG's: and the opposition in exile and in burma claims the junta was behind Yettaw's actions, what a football match)

Burma’s police chief, Khin Yi, told journalists in Rangoon in June that the background to Yettaw’s intrusion needed more investigation.

Khin Yi said Yettaw had met with exiled and unlawful groups in Mae Sot before his last visit to Burma. The police chief accused him of receiving financial support from the groups.

Yettaw reportedly first visited Suu Kyi’s home unlawfully last November, and his family says he was still in debt for the expenses he incurred during that trip.

Before setting out for his second trip, Yettaw told his wife that he planned to visit Asia for a book he was writing, according to Newsweek magazine.

Burmese and Thai sources in Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border, say he spent more than a month at a hotel in the town after his first visit to Rangoon. During this visit he managed to get in to Suu Kyi’s compound, but her companions prevented him from meeting her.

While he was in Mae Sot, people recalled Yettaw saying that he planned to return to visit Suu Kyi again. His second visit led to the fateful encounter with Suu Kyi in May, sources said. (JEG's: the right ears always attentive to capture junta's weapons)

In Mae Sot, Yettaw stayed at the Highland Hotel, where he spoke to several people about Burma and talked briefly about Suu Kyi. He openly told people about his first visit to her compound.

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Security Tightened as Suu Kyi Trial Resumes


Security was tightened around Rangoon’s Insein Prison on Friday as crowds gathered for the resumption of the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Barbed wire road blocks were set up, and armed riot police took up positions. “About 30 riot police trucks have been deployed around the prison and other police trucks are patrolling,” said one resident.

Despite the tightened security, about 100 Suu Kyi supporters gathered near the prison. They included Win Tin, a prominent leader of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in prison and facing unjust charges,” said one 24-year-old activist. “She could face unjust imprisonment soon. It would be irresponsible not to come here.”

NLD member Ohn Kyaing said the trial resumed on Friday morning and, after a break, was continuing in the afternoon. Khin Moe Moe, a defense witness, was scheduled to testify.

Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house detention order by allowing American intruder John W Yettaw to stay at her home. She could face up to five years imprisonment if the court finds her guilty.

Suu Kyi was arrested in May and put on trial as her latest term of house arrest was due to expire.

Burmese observers say Suu Kyi could face a prison sentence because the junta may want to show the world that it cannot accept any outside interference.

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