Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Politicians mull over Suu Kyi verdict

(DVB)–Several senior Burmese politicians and lawyers said yesterday that it was likely Aung San Suu Kyi would be jailed on Friday in a ploy to keep her behind bars for next year’s elections.

Speaking to DVB yesterday as the trial drew to a close, central court lawyer Aung Thein said that there is a prevailing sense in Burma that the ruling junta “wants to keep Daw Suu far from Burma’s politics”.

His comments were echoed by the prime minister of the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, Dr Sein Win.

“This is a political strategy by the junta to keep Daw Aung San Suu Kyi away from the public and I find this very unfair.”

Yesterday morning the prosecution team wrapped up its final statements in a trial that has dragged on for almost three months.

The trial was initially expected to last only a matter of weeks, but it appears that a series of delays and digressions were a reaction to the international pressure that has piled up on the regime.

Several minor concessions have since been offered by the regime, including a suggestion at the UN Security Council that the government would soon release a number of prisoners in response to demands made by UN chief Ban Ki-moon when he visited Burma earlier this month.

“I think they will jail Daw Suu, and then wait and see what’s the world’s reaction is like,” said senior National League for Democracy member, Win Tin.

“Depending on that reaction, maybe they will include her among the list of [prisoner] amnesties promised to the UN.”

The vice chairperson of the Mon National Democratic Front, Nai Ngwe Thein, said that the work done by the junta to carry this case through in the face of international pressure meant that “they are going to send her to prison”.

If Suu Kyi is found guilty of breaching conditions of her house arrest, she could up to five years in prison.

The end of the trial coincided with Amnesty International awarding Suu Kyi its highest accolade, that of Ambassador of Conscience.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew and Naw Say Phaw

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