Friday, July 10, 2009

Misinformation circulated on Suu Kyi’s trial

by Mizzima News

New Delhi (mizzima) - In a bid to disperse the crowd assembled outside the Insein prison in Rangoon, authorities spread false information that the court hearing of a defence witness in the trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was adjourned and that the court has fixed the next hearing on July 17.

Nyan Win, member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, told Mizzima that the information was false. It was spread in order to keep at bay members of the National League for Democracy and its supporters, who crowded outside the Insein prison.

“I think the news was spread by those who are against us, in order to send away the waiting crowd outside the prison,” said Nyan Win adding that the court session went on for about seven hours.

Nyan Win also said the court has fixed July 24 for the hearing of the final argument from lawyers of both sides refuting the wrong date of July 17 rumored earlier in the day.

Nyan Win said on Friday that the district court in Insein prison heard the testimony of the second witness, Daw Khin Moe Moe, who is also a lawyer by profession and member of the National League for Democracy.

“The court adjourned at 5 p.m. (local time). Daw Khin Moe Moe testified. She was also cross examined by the prosecution lawyer,” Nyan Win said.

Meanwhile, at least 80 NLD members including veteran journalist Win Tin and supporters crowded outside Insein prison waiting for the trial. Mingling with the crowd, were riot police personnel and soldiers.

But after being told that the court session had been adjourned, that witness, Khin Moe Moe, did not testify and the next hearing had been fixed for July 17, supporters dispersed in the afternoon.

Phyu Phyu Thinn, an NLD youth member, who was among the crowd, said, “We were informed by a man that the court had adjourned and the next hearing is fixed for July 17. After that we all dispersed. I don’t know the man’s name.”

“All of us believed that the information was correct and left the prison precincts. But in the evening we learnt that the information was wrong, and was intended to make us leave,” she added.

Nyan Win said, “As we came out, several people asked whether the court had adjourned till July 17. It was false information spread by people who are against us.”

In the court on Friday, Khin Moe Moe argued that the 1974 Constitution of Burma is no longer effective and that the charges against the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate cannot be filed under the statutes of the 1974 Constitution.

But the prosecution argued that despite the changes in the regime, the 1974 Constitution is still valid.

“They tried to prove their stand with various government orders and documents, so it took a long time to conclude,” Nyan Win said.

Nyan Win said the defence team on Wednesday met Aung San Suu Kyi with a prepared 18-page final argument to be submitted to the court on July 24. Following the submission of the final argument, the court is likely to set another day to pronounce the final verdict.

Under the charges of violating the detention terms, if found guilty, the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could face up to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, John William Yettaw, the American man who is also facing trial for taking refuge in Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, has been taken to hospital, reports said.

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