Friday, May 15, 2009

Security Increased around Insein Prison

The Irrawaddy News

Increased security forces, including firefighters, members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Swan Arr Shin, have been stationed around Rangoon’s infamous Insein prison, following the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday.

An estimated two dozen people gathered at the prison on Friday morning seeking information about Suu Kyi. They were ordered to leave the area by security guards.

“Since yesterday morning, the security troops have deployed heavily in northern Rangoon and Insein Township,” said a source close to Insein Prison.

After the Burmese military government brought Aung San Suu Kyi from her lakeside house to Insein Prison, she was charged with violating the conditions of her house arrest.

A US citizen, John William Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Missouri, swam across Inya Lake to Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside resident where he stayed two nights last week, according to authorities. It is against the law in Burma for nationals to allow foreigners to stay overnight without approval from authorities.

According to sources in Insein Township, located in the northwest outskirts of Rangoon, additional security forces are posted around government buildings and monasteries near the prison, which houses many pro-democracy activists.

“Police, soldiers, firefighters and uniformed Swan-Arr-Shin have been stationed at Eight mile Junction and Thamine Junction and on the outskirts of the city,” said a Rangoon resident said.

“They [USDA and Swan-Arr-Shin] are stationed along the streets in Insein wards,” she said. “They stop taxis, cars and passersby, and they inspect them carefully.”

She said that plainclothes police and USDA members are going around check on the overnight guests’ list in various wards.

Sources in Rangoon said that people are flocking to Internet shops to try to get more news and information about Suu Kyi’s trial from exiled media Web sites. The trial may get underway on Monday, according to sources. Suu Kyi, her doctor, two caretakers and Yettaw are all charged with violating state security laws.

“The government is making people angry, and most people don’t believe that Daw Suu is guilty,” said a Rangoon-based reporter. “The government is manipulating the events again to put her in jail.”

“Many people, even when they go for walk, have a radio and listen for information about Daw Suu,” he said. “I saw trishaw drivers in a circle listening for news.”

Meanwhile, Internet service has been unreliable in Burma recently, with connections going on and off.

“Normally, Internet users go to chat rooms and talk, but now they read quietly about Daw Suu,” said one Internet user in downtown Rangoon.

READ MORE---> Security Increased around Insein Prison...

Rangoon Media Silent on Suu Kyi

The Irrawaddy News

Burmese journalists from Rangoon-based publications have complained that they cannot report freely about pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s transfer to Insein Prison due to heavy restrictions on press freedom.

While the Burmese public is eager to hear news surrounding Suu Kyi’s arrest and the incident at her home involving an American intruder, they are forced to turn to the international press and Burmese news agencies in exile, because local media is largely silent on the issue.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, an editor working with a leading journal in Rangoon said, “Of course we want to report this news, but we cannot. The censorship board will definitely reject it.”

Another Rangoon-based editor said, “We can publish reports about this news in similar terms to those of the state-run newspapers. I’m sure that we cannot report any more than that. Otherwise, our lives will be in danger.”

A Burmese journalist in Rangoon who is working with a foreign news agency said that he is constantly confronted with difficulties when confirming details deemed “sensitive matters” by the Burmese authorities.

Sources in Rangoon said that “everyone” in the former capital—from reporters to rickshaw drivers—listens to the radio every morning and evening to find out what is happening with Suu Kyi.

Several sources indicated that the public reaction to Suu Kyi’s arrest and her subsequent detention in a guest house within the compound of Insein Prison ranges from anger toward the junta to feelings of pity for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and fears for her safety.

A resident in Rangoon said that the news about Suu Kyi and the “Inya Lake Swimmer” is the talk of the town and that many people are constantly calling each other sharing the latest rumors.

“Some are saying that the incident [with the American intruder at Suu Kyi’s house] has been fabricated by the Burmese authorities,” he said.

On Thursday, pro-junta newspapers The New Light of Myanmar and The Mirror published details about the “US citizen who secretly entered the house of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.” The report included a photograph and full biography of 53-year-old psychology student John William Yettaw.

However, neither newspaper ran a report mentioning Suu Kyi’s arrest.
Some local journals, including Rangoon-based The Voice, also reported on the arrest of Yettaw, but only quoted from the “official” report in The New Light of Myanmar.

The New Light of Myanmar said that the US citizen was arrested on May 6. According to the report, the man arrived in Rangoon on May 2, swam across Inya Lake on the night of May 3 and secretly entered Suu Kyi’s house.

Several pro-junta publications and blogs have criticized the reporting by Burmese news agencies and radio stations in exile, such as BBC Burmese, Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia, saying that their coverage shows a lack of ethics and is influenced by the Western community.

READ MORE---> Rangoon Media Silent on Suu Kyi...

Was Yettawa Pawn of Burma’s Generals?

The Irrawaddy News

There is growing doubt among Burmese observers that the bizarre case of an American intruder who managed to enter the highly restricted property of democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was the work of one misguided individual.

The incident involving John William Yettaw, an American national who allegedly wanted to interview Suu Kyi for a book he was writing, has resulted not only in his arrest, but also that of Suu Kyi herself, as well as her two live-in assistants and her doctor.

A file photo of Burmese riot police standing guard on a road leading to the home of Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon. (Photo: AFP)

The arrests come less than two weeks before the democracy icon was due to be released after serving six under house arrest.

“We suspect that the military authorities turned a blind eye when the guy swam across Inya Lake,” said Ngwe Lin, the joint general-secretary of the exiled Democratic Party for a New Society. “I believe Burmese security authorities were definitely involved.”

Like Ngwe Lin, many Burmese are questioning the circumstances surrounding Suu Kyi’s latest brush with the ruling junta’s draconian laws. Many have expressed surprise at how easily Yettaw was able to enter her residential compound, which is one of the most tightly restricted properties in the country.

Aung Lin Htut, a former military intelligence officer and deputy ambassador to the US who is currently living in Washington, said that it was unlikely that Yettaw simply outwitted security personnel by swimming to Suu Kyi’s lakeside home.

“There’s always tight security around Inya Lake,” he said, pointing out that the area is also home to many other VIPs. “Without help from security personnel, there’s no way you could just swim across the lake.”

The strange case of the Inya Lake swimmer first attracted attention on May 7, when it was reported by The New Light of Myanmar. The state-run newspaper identified Yettaw as “John Willian [sic] Yeattaw,” and claimed that he had been arrested on the morning of May 5 as he was swimming away from Suu Kyi’s home.

Although the regime has made no official mention of the incident, the story was quickly picked up by junta-friendly blogs set up by the Ministry of Information, which claimed that Suu Kyi now faced up to five years imprisonment for violating the restriction order under which she was placed in detention.

Sure enough, on Thursday, Suu Kyi was officially charged under Section 22 of the State Protection Act, which says that “any person against whom action is taken, who opposes, resists, or disobeys any order passed under this Law, shall be liable to imprisonment for a period of from three years up to five years, or to a fine of up to 5,000 kyat, or both.”

Burmese opposition groups were quick to denounce this move to extend Suu Kyi’s incarceration.

“It is nothing more than a political ploy to hoodwink the international community so that they can keep Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under lock and key while the military maneuvers its way to election victory in 2010,” said Dr Sein Win, a cousin of Suu Kyi and the prime minister of the Washington-based National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, which describes itself as the country’s government-in-exile.

Another suspicious aspect of this whole episode is the fact that Suu Kyi’s doctor, Dr Tin Myo Win, was also taken into custody shortly after Yettaw’s arrest. As her personal physician, Tin Myo Win is one of the few people who have regular access to Suu Kyi.

According to opposition sources, Yettaw told them he had made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Suu Kyi’s compound during a trip to Rangoon that lasted from November 7 to December 3, 2008.

Sometime after that incident, Suu Kyi asked Tin Myo Win to inform the authorities about it on her behalf. The physician duly reported the attempted illegal entry to the Police Special Branch, but no action was taken.

“By arresting Tin Myo Win, the military authorities tried to stop him from spreading the information about Yettaw’s previous efforts to break in,” said a Rangoon-based observer.

Now everyone is trying to figure out who John William Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Missouri, really is, and what motivated him to undertake a stunt that has attracted worldwide attention.

According to an Associated Press report, Betty Yettaw, his wife, said that he simply wanted to talk to Suu Kyi as part of his research on forgiveness and resilience. She said her husband is “not political at all,” but interested in how people deal with stress and abuse of all sorts.

But while it’s entirely plausible that a determined, if misguided, individual might attempt to circumvent the tight security measures surrounding the world’s most famous political prisoner, it is highly unlikely that he would have succeeded without a helping hand.

Opposition sources on the Thai-Burmese border who met him prior to his latest trip to Rangoon say that he was not one to be dissuaded easily from carrying out his foolhardy plan. However, they add that he probably also came into contact with some who actually encouraged him to go through with it.

It may take some time to put all the pieces together, but conspiracy theories suggesting that Yettaw’s “mission” was somehow orchestrated by the Burmese regime are not completely unfounded.

We know that the authorities were aware of Yettaw’s earlier attempt to meet Suu Kyi, and that it would not have been difficult for border-based agents of the regime to send him astray with assurances that Suu Kyi was ready to meet him this time.

The only way we will ever uncover the truth is if the junta allows all concerned to reveal what they know. But if one thing is certain, it is that the regime has no interest in any version of this story that doesn’t end with Suu Kyi behind bars.

READ MORE---> Was Yettawa Pawn of Burma’s Generals?...

The Lady, a “Fool” and a Crazy Dictator

The Irrawaddy News

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Kyi Win, is an angry man. His client is now in jail as a result of a madcap escapade by the American intruder John William Yettaw.

“Everyone is very angry with this wretched American,” said Kyi Win. “He is the cause of all these problems. He's a fool.”

While creating serious problems for Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD), the American swimmer was a
blessing in disguise for the regime leaders in Naypyidaw. They now have an excuse to extend Suu Kyi’s current six-year term of detention, which was to have ended this month.

The bizarre affair pits an eccentric American against a man who probably is really insane—the junta’s cunning leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

Indications of the state of Than Shwe’s unsound mind first surfaced in the early 2000s, when he and his family were reported to be behaving like royalty.

In 2005, Than Shwe relocated Burma’s capital to Naypyidaw after secretly constructing a new power center in the rural depths of Burma, at an estimated cost running into billions of dollars.

Than Shwe then bought a 10-megawatt nuclear reactor from Russia and declared to a doubting world that the secrecy-shrouded investment was for peaceful purposes. He reportedly confided to his subordinates that he planned to make Burma a nuclear nation.

He is said to be a devout Buddhist and recently participated with family members in the consecration of a replica of Rangoon’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda.

For all his devout piety, however, family sources suggest that Than Shwe and his wife are superstitious and often consult astrologers, even when making major policy decisions.

Among these decisions were moves to steer Burma into an even darker corner of the world—by restoring formal diplomatic ties, for instance, with North Korea.

Relations between the two countries were broken off in 1983 after a Rangoon bomb attack by North Korean terrorists on a visiting South Korean delegation headed by then-President Chun Doo-hwan.

Burma has sent secret missions to North Korea, and although little news emerges about these visits it is known that the regime is buying arms, including short-range missiles, from the hermit state.

In May 2003, Than Shwe and his hard-line ministers launched an attack on a Suu Kyi motorcade in the heartland of Burma.

The thuggish attack on Suu Kyi and her supporters sparked outrage within the international community. Than Shwe and his regime responded by placing her under house arrest.

Despite the treatment she received at the hands of the regime, Suu Kyi made clear she bore no grudge and extended an olive branch to Than Shwe, seeking political dialogue and national reconciliation.

Than Shwe, however, made clear for his part that he had no interest in meeting Suu Kyi. Instead, he introduced the country to a “road map” leading to what he promised would be “disciplined democracy.”

A new constitution was drawn up and put to the country in 2008 in a national referendum which not even Cyclone Nargis could delay.

The regime made the preposterous claim that the rigged referendum had been approved by more than 90 percent of the electorate. The document provided for a general election to be held in 2010, although no precise date has yet been announced—and even an election law is still awaited.

Suu Kyi’s NLD—outright winner of the 1990 election—recently took a bold step and said it would participate in the 2010 election if the regime met a series of demands, including the release of all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi, changes to the constitution and for international observers to be allowed to monitor the poll.

Interestingly, the NLD did not call on the regime to honor the outcome of the 1990 election. Analysts greeted the moderate stance.

Than Shwe had other things on his mind and rejected an appeal by Suu Kyi’s lawyers to free her. He was clearly looking for a reason to justify an extension of her detention.

He was also eager to build the regime’s image and inform the public about “progress” in his country.

Two weeks ago, while not bothering to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Cyclone Nargis, Than Shwe arrogantly claimed at a top brass meeting that his country had almost tripled its rice production over the past two decades. He claimed a food surplus existed, despite the destruction in the delta and reports of famine in Chin State.

“There is no need to worry about food even when the nation's population reaches 100 million,” Than Shwe boasted.

His message appeared to be that since Burma has enough rice all its problems are solved. He enjoys living in this world of his own.

The xenophobic regime supremo shuns visiting UN envoys and doesn’t like meeting ambassadors who raise the issue of Suu Kyi’s detention. He is said to take refuge in pre-emptive action when meeting foreign dignitaries who dare to raise the issue.

With Yettaw and Suu Kyi in prison, Than Shwe may have thought that he has more justification to lecture his foreign guests on the reasons for keeping the Lady behind bars.

If any foreign officials are ready to accept such an explanation, Than Shwe will not need to seek psychiatric treatment.

READ MORE---> The Lady, a “Fool” and a Crazy Dictator...

Asian nations under fire for Suu Kyi inaction

Rights groups slam Asean countries for their silence after the Burmese military junta brings trumped up charges against Aung San Suu Kyi. Bangkok Post-AFP

Burma's Asian neighbours came under fire from rights groups on Friday for largely staying silent about the fresh charges levelled by the military junta against democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to use its influence with its most troublesome member, and said that China, Japan and India should also use their weight.

Asean ambassadors met in Rangoon on Friday to hammer out a statement on the group's perennial problem country, but the 10-member bloc has historically shied away from criticising the ruling generals.

Indonesia and Singapore were the only members to directly call for Aung San Suu Kyi's release and condemn the charges, which state that she breached the terms of her house arrest when a US man intruded on her lakeside house.

"The charges against her are not appropriate. Why should Aung San Suu Kyi be detained when it was the American national who swam across the waters to her house?'' Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said in Jakarta.

Singapore's foreign ministry said in a statement that it was "dismayed'' by the charges against the 63-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner and also called for her release.

In Bangkok, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said only that his country "hope(s) that she should be released'', adding that Thailand was "very, very concerned'' about the possibility that Burma could extend her detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi faces a five-year jail term if found guilty at her trial, which will be held in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison, where she was taken on Thursday from her home.

She has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention, most of them in virtual isolation at the sprawling lakeside property where she received the bizarre visit from US national John Yettaw last week that led to the charges.

Mr Kasit said Thailand's ambassador in Rangoon would meet with his Asean counterparts to discuss a statement by the bloc, which has a policy of non-interference in members' internal affairs.

Senior officials from Asean and its six dialogue partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand -- would also meet on the sidelines of a regular meeting in the tourist island of Phuket in Thailand on Tuesday, he said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone voiced "deep concern'' over the new charges, local media reported. Japan is the top donor to Burma among the OECD's major economies.

But there was silence from the rest of the region. China, one of Burma's closest allies and a major consumer of its vast natural resources, remained silent on the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, as did India.

London-based Amnesty International called on the UN Security Council, "notably China and Japan, and Asean countries, (to) urgently intervene to secure Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release from Insein prison''.

"They are best placed to bring the necessary pressure to bear on the Burma government,'' it said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, made a similar appeal.

"China, India, Singapore, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries should be calling for a genuine and participatory political process in Burma, which means serious public pressure for the release of political opponents,'' said Elaine Pearson, the group's deputy Asia director.

"Aung San Suu Kyi's latest arrest shows how their silence simply encourages more contempt for basic freedoms,'' she said in a statement.

READ MORE---> Asian nations under fire for Suu Kyi inaction...

'I did not commit any crime': Aung San Suu Kyi

by May Kyaw

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi, who was transferred to Insein prison from house arrest to face trial on charges framed by the Burmese junta said through her lawyer today that she did not commit any crime.

Aung San Suu Kyi said to this to her lawyer Kyi Win when she was produced before the Rangoon West District Court inside the Insein prison.

"I didn't commit any crime," her lawyer Kyi Win quoted her as saying to Mizzima

"She didn't say these words off hand. She has already read the charge sheet filed against her and knew well under which section the charge was framed," he added.

Aung San Suu Kyi was produced before the Rangoon West District Court inside Insein prison today along with her two live-in companions who take care of her, Khin Khin Win and her daughter, and US citizen John William Yeattaw who intruded into her residence.

"The case No. is 47/2009. All four of them were produced before the court simultaneously," said Hla Myo Myint, assistant to her lawyer Kyi Win.

The authorities took Aung San Kyi, Khin Khin Win and her daughter from her residence to Insein prison this morning under police escort.

The court framed charges against Aung San Suu Kyi with breaching of the internment order and failing to comply with this order imposed under the 1975 Law Safeguarding the State from Destructive Elements (popularly known as State Protection Law).

Under this section, it is punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison or Kyat 5,000 fine or both.

"This man came voluntarily and uninvited. She harboured him only on humanitarian grounds. In their internment order, there is no such restriction mentioned. How can one breach the law without any restrictions in this regard? Therefore we say she did not commit any crime," party spokesman Nyan Win said.

When the internment order was issued, Aung San Suu Kyi was barred from contacting embassies, political parties, persons related with these political parties, barred from going outside, and from contacting the outside world even over mail and telephone.

Khin Khin Win and her daughter Win Ma Ma were charged under section 22/209 for abetting a destructive element who committed crime against the State.

The intruder US citizen John William Yeattaw was charged under section 22/109, abetting the destructive element against the State, under section 28 of Rangoon Municipal Act, intruding into a restricted area, and under section 13(1) of Immigration Act. His case No. is 49/2009.

The Rangoon Municipal Act is a British colony era law which can punish anyone who trespasses a restricted place within the Rangoon Municipal area.

An official from the US embassy in Burma went to Insein prison where Yeattaw was produced before the court with an interpreter.

Today's trial was attended by presiding judge Thaung Nyunt, advisory judge Nyi Nyi Soe and District Law Officer Myint Kyaing.

Aung San Suu Kyi is currently in custody and in judicial remand and the next hearing is fixed for May 18. Lawyers Nyan Win, Kyi Win and Hla Myo Myint will represent Aung San Suu Kyi, Khin Khin Win and her daughter Win Ma Ma.

READ MORE---> 'I did not commit any crime': Aung San Suu Kyi...

Detained Opposition Leader Rejects Charges

A Burmese pro-democracy leader on trial for breaking the rules of her house arrest has denied any wrongdoing, while western governments condemn the charges brought against her by the country’s military junta.

BANGKOK (RFA) —Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected claims by Burma’s military regime that she violated the terms of her house arrest when an American man swam across a lake and entered her home, her lawyer said.

Attorney Kyi Win said he met with the Nobel laureate after her first appearance in court May 13 at Insein Prison in Rangoon.

“We are well aware of what is prohibited in relation to the charge she is accused of. She is not allowed to contact embassies, political parties, or the people who are connected to the political parties, and she said she did not break any of these conditions,” Kyi Win said.

When asked if he thought the charges were related to Aung San Suu Kyi’s anticipated release from house arrest, scheduled for May 27, Kyi Win said he did not plan to include the issue in his defense.

“The charge is that she broke the conditions that she was under, and we will concentrate on this [instead]. We will keep the two issues separate,” the attorney said.

But Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy, issued a statement expressing outrage at what they called a “planned” effort to bring charges against their leader ahead of her scheduled release from house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 63, whose party won 1990 elections but was denied power by Burma’s military, which has ruled Burma for more than four decades, has been detained for more than 13 of the past 19 years—mostly incommunicado at her lakeside compound.

Swimming incident

John William Yettaw, a 53-year-old American man, was arrested May 6 as he swam back from Suu Kyi’s home after spending two days there.

Kyi Win said Aung San Suu Kyi did not deny seeing Yettaw, but said she had demanded he leave, which he refused to do.

“She said, ‘I demanded that he go,” but he responded that he was too tired to swim back. He said he had a leg cramp. Aung San Suu Kyi said she felt sorry for him and that she couldn’t bear the thought of another person being arrested because of her,” the attorney said.

Yettaw stayed in a downstairs room during the two days and was then asked to leave, whereupon he was taken into custody. Aung San Suu Kyi was taken to Insein Prison on May 13, where she currently remains.

Kyi Win said that Aung San Suu Kyi was present at the first hearing of the trial, but that the two judges assigned to the case only questioned Yettaw through a translator.

The trial will resume on May 18 when Kyi Win will begin his defense of Aung San Suu Kyi and the judges will hear testimony from over 20 witnesses.

Condemnation of charges

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she was deeply troubled by the Burmese government’s decision to charge Aung San Suu Kyi for what she described as a “baseless crime.”

“It comes just before the six-year anniversary of her house arrest. And it is not in keeping with the rule of law, the ASEAN Charter, or efforts to promote national reconciliation and progress in Burma,” Clinton said.

“We oppose the regime’s efforts to use this incident as a pretext to place further unjustified restrictions on her,” she said.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana, expressed “serious concern” over Aung San Suu Kyi’s “unlawful detention.”

“Her house is well guarded by security forces, so the responsibility for preventing such intrusions and alerting the authorities lies with the security forces and not with Aung San Suu Kyi,” Quintana said.

“I call on the government of Burma to release her immediately and, of course, to start releasing the 2,100 political prisoners of conscience in the country.”

The United Nations released a statement by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying he was gravely concerned about news that Aung San Suu Kyi had been moved to Insein Prison to face criminal charges.

“The Secretary-General believes that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is an essential partner for dialogue in Myanmar’s [Burma’s] national reconciliation and calls on the Government not to take any further action that could undermine this important process,” the statement said.

The statement went on to say that Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners must be free “to ensure that the political process is credible.”

2010 elections

The junta has announced 2010 general elections under what it calls a "roadmap to democracy," but critics have denounced the vote as a sham designed to solidify military rule.

Authorities announced last year that Aung San Suu Kyi was barred from running for a legislative seat in the upcoming polls.

Original reporting by Ingjin Naing and Tin Aung Khine for RFA’s Burmese service. Burmese service director: Nancy Shwe. Translation by Khin May Zaw. Written for the Web in English by Joshua Lipes. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

READ MORE---> Detained Opposition Leader Rejects Charges...

Army Authority Uses Villages for Forced Labor in Arakan

Maypon (Narinjara): Burmese army authorities from Western Command based in Ann Town have been forcing villagers to work on construction of a road between Kam Daunt Gri and Shauk Kon Village in Mraypon Township, said one villager.

He said, "We were forced by army officials to collect and gather stones from one small mountain located by Kam Daunt Gri Village. After that, the army officials forced us to transport the stones to the road construction site." All villagers from both villages have been working on the road every day.

The road is a rural road that connects Kam Daunt Gri and Shauk Kon. Authorities are using Kan Htin Fri as a government model developing village in Arakan State.

"The army authority is building up the village of Kam Daunt Gri in accordance with government projects, but local people have been forced by army officials to work at many project sites without pay," he added.

The villages are located near the Arakan coast and most of the villagers work as fishermen.

"We are fishermen and our survival depends on the daily work of fishing. But recently we can not go to the ocean for fishing. So we have lost our daily income," he said.

One major from the Military Operation Planning Bureau in Western Command came to the area and ordered the villagers to transport the stones to the road construction site.

"The official told us that the road is constructed for us, so we should construct the road ourselves. He said we would get "kutho" [merit] by contributing our wages to the road construction," the villager concluded.

READ MORE---> Army Authority Uses Villages for Forced Labor in Arakan...

Day Laborers Work Overtime on Railway Without Pay

Sittwe (Narinjara): Day laborers have been working overtime on construction of the Ann-Sittwe railway route but have not received compensation for the extra work.

A worker from the construction site said, "We asked for wages from the contractors of the company for overtime, but they denied us the money. We have to work two hours overtime every day but we have not received wages for the overtime."

The Ann-Sittwe railway route is being constructed by companies from Rangoon with local day laborers after the companies got contracts for the work from the military government.

The government authority recently pushed the companies to complete some sections of the railway near Sittwe in a short time, so the companies have forced the day laborers to work overtime.

"We are now working on the construction of the railway route phase between Sittwe and the technical college. The authority wants the route to be completed within the first two weeks of May, so the company used our wage for the two hours extra every day," the worker said.

At the railway construction site there is a work timetable for the day laborers that list the scheduled work day as 7 am to 5 pm every day. However, the workers have been required to work until 7 pm everyday.

"Our wage is only 1500 kyat per day, but we receive only 1400 kyat. 100 kyat is taken by the worker leaders for a worker fund. However, we have not been receiving our wage everyday. Even though we are day laborers, we receive our wages every five days," he said.

According to labor sources the day laborers, most of whom are women, are doing manual tasks at many construction sites, including carrying stone, digging soil, crushing stone, and transporting materials from one site to another.

The high military authority has instructed the companies working on the railway route to finish the work before the rainy season begins this year. Because of this early deadline, the companies have been working laborers overtime to complete the task.

READ MORE---> Day Laborers Work Overtime on Railway Without Pay...

ASEAN member urges governments not to fall for Burma 'fallacy'

(DVB)-The head of the Burma caucus of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has said that the charges to be faced by Burma oppositon leader are "just ridiculous", and urged fellow ASEAN governments not to fall for the "fallacy" of elections next year.

Speaking at a press conference in Bangkok today, orgainsed by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, Kraisak Choonhavan, President of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, said he was "very upset" by the situation.

On Wednesday, the National League for Democracy leader and her two caretakers were brought to Rangoon's Insein prison to face charges related to the visit to Suu Kyi's compound, where she is kept under house arrest, by US citizen John William Yettaw.

"How can they be guilty of this American man coming to their house?" said Kraisak Choonhavan.

"How they they be charged when she already told him to leave? This is just getting ridiculous I think."

The conference, originally organised to discuss the broader issue of political prisoners in Burma, was of course given added significance following Wednesday's announcement.

Speaking to DVB, the secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department of National League for Democracy (Liberated Areas), Moe Zaw Oo, said that a fair trial was highly unlikely.

"There is no rule of law in our country at all," he said.

"The junta will themselves decide on the judge, and the trial will be held in a makeshift court inside Insein prison. I would say that the judge cannot be called a real judge."

If convicted, Suu Kyi could face up to fives year in prison. She has already spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, and is nearing the end of the sixth year of her current internment.

"It is inconceivable to see a womean remain in a prison where many people have been tortured, and many have even died," said Choonhavan, speaking of Insein prison where hundreds of political prisoners are held.

Reporting by Francis Wade

READ MORE---> ASEAN member urges governments not to fall for Burma 'fallacy'...

Motives of 'Suu Kyi Swimmer'

The Irrawaddy News

CAMDENTON, Missouri — The American in Burma custody after swimming across a lake to the home of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is eccentric but peace-loving, and had done the same thing last summer in an unsuccessful attempt to meet the Nobel Peace Prize winner, his wife said Thursday.

Betty Yettaw said she's sure her husband, John, is "very dismayed" that his arrest has prompted the Burmese government to level new charges against Suu Kyi less than two weeks before her yearslong detention had been due to end. She said John Yettaw wanted to talk to Suu Kyi as part of his research on forgiveness and resilience.

A handout picture taken on May 13, 2009, provided by Myanma News Agency shows US citizen John William Yettaw (C) meeting Colin P. Furst, second secretary (consul) of the US embassy at a police station in Rangoon. (Photo:Reuters/MNA)

"He's a very peace-loving person, well-meaning, forgiving, mild-mannered. He meant the very best for her," Betty Yettaw said outside her home near Camdenton in south-central Missouri. "I don't think he could have foreseen that it was going to be such a mess, that they were going to make such a huge deal out of it.

"He probably thought he would be in and out, and no one would know because that's what happened before."

She said John Yettaw visited Suu Kyi's home last summer, also by swimming the lake, but that house staff kept him from speaking to her.

"I think that's what motivated him to go back. He thought he could be in and out."

John Yettaw, 53, was arrested last week and charged Thursday with illegally entering a restricted zone, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and breaking immigration laws, which is punishable by up to one year in jail.

US national John Yettaw has been charged with violating Burma's security and immigration laws after hiding inside Aung San Suu Kyi's house in Rangoon. (Photo: AFP)

"I guess you tend not to think that it will end badly, but I don't know. I worry about his reputation," his adult daughter, Carley Yettaw, said Thursday. "But I would like people to know that he has no ill intention that he was not trying to cause harm."

Suu Kyi's supporters accuse the military government of using the incident to keep her in detention ahead of general elections scheduled for next year.

John Yettaw's ex-wife, Yvonne Yettaw of Palm Springs, California, said he left his 10-year-old daughter and three teenage sons in southern Missouri before visiting her and telling her he had to go to Asia to work on a psychology paper about forgiveness. He has physical custody of the children.

"He's got four children, and he went out of the country and left the children with friends," she said.

Betty Yettaw, however, said John Yettaw is a good father who loves his children and made sure they would be cared for by her and friends while he was gone.

"He's not crazy. He's eccentric," she said.

She said her husband is "not political at all" but interested in how people deal with stress and abuse of all sorts, which is why he wanted to speak to Suu Kyi.

"He has no agenda whatsoever as far as the country goes," she said. "He really just wanted to have some comments from her I believe."

US Embassy spokesman Richard Mei said Yettaw had no legal representation at his arraignment but that the embassy was trying to find him an English-speaking lawyer.

Betty Yettaw said she was getting ready to send $630 to pay for a lawyer. "We do not have a lot of money," she said, adding that the Asia trip Yettaw made last year has not been paid off yet.

Yvonne Yettaw said her ex-husband said nothing about Suu Kyi when he talked to her. He mentioned researching the psychology paper but said little else about his trip.

"I don't know if this was cathartic," she said from Palm Springs. "But he wanted to return to Southeast Asia. He wanted to take some documents and some information because he's doing research on a paper on forgiveness for trauma."

She added, "I was just told that he needed to go." He had been scheduled to return June 24.

John Yettaw has claimed he is a student of the Forest Institute in Springfield, Missouri. Officials at the institute, a school for advanced degrees in psychology with about 250 students, said Yettaw is not enrolled there and did not have a degree from there; they said school rules bar them from disclosing whether he had ever attended.

Betty Yettaw said her husband had been working toward a degree in psychology but had not been enrolled in the Forest Institute recently.

Yvonne Yettaw said she was married to John Yettaw for 12 years and divorced him in 2002. They had six children together; one of them, a son, died in a motorcycle accident in 2007.

Yvonne Yettaw, 53, said John Yettaw lived on veterans disability payments and from work as a general contractor.

He got physical custody of the children when they divorced, she said, but she was going to have the children for a while when school ended for the summer. She asked him to postpone the trip to Asia until then.

"He's got a 14-year-old who's graduating from eighth grade, and a son who missed his prom," Yvonne Yettaw said. "He couldn't wait until I could have them?

"I have harsh feelings toward that man," she said.

The family belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Yvonne Yettaw said. She said it was unlikely he was there to proselytize for the church or convert the Nobel laureate.

John Yettaw is borderline diabetic and has asthma, but recently lost about 70 pounds, she said.

"He has asthma real bad, that's why I'm surprised he swam so good," she said.

Betty Yettaw said American authorities have told her he is being treated well in jail, and that prison staff have been monitoring his diabetes.

READ MORE---> Motives of 'Suu Kyi Swimmer'...

US Lawmakers Decry Junta

The Irrawaddy News

WASHINGTON — US lawmakers are outraged at the Burmese military junta’s latest move to persecute Aung San Suu Kyi, with calls coming from Capitol Hill for tougher action against the junta and an attempt to galvanize key regional and global players on the issue.

A series of statements from powerful lawmakers—whose voices resonate in the shaping US foreign policy—led political observers to say that it would be very tough for the Obama administration to show any sign of leniency or softening of stance with the Burmese military junta.

The lawmakers, who either issued statements or spoke on the floor of the US Congress, argued that it is now time for decisive action, to restore democracy in Burma and protect the human rights of Burmese nationals.

The Obama administration—which has been looking at the possibilities of engaging the junta and has hinted that it would review the impact of economic sanctions—appeared to be siding with the lawmakers.

“The accusations against her are baseless and without merit,” said senators Dianne Feinstein and Kay Bailey Hutchison in a joint statement. The two senators are co-chair of the Senate Women’s Caucus on Burma.

The trial of Suu Kyi represents yet another desperate attempt on the part of the despotic military junta to silence her voice and stifle the will of the people of Burma who overwhelmingly support Suu Kyi and her call for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law for Burma, said the senators.

“The world must now respond to the junta's latest outrage in a way that demonstrates the inevitability of those values she so clearly demonstrates,” said influential Republican Senator John McCain, on the floor of the Senate. “The thugs who run Burma have tried to stifle her voice, but they will never extinguish her moral courage,” he said.

McCain said the US must continue to press the junta until it is willing to negotiate an irreversible transition to democratic rule. The Burmese people deserve no less, he said.

“This means renewing the sanctions that will expire this year, and it means vigorous enforcement by our Treasury Department of the targeted financial sanctions in place against regime leaders. And it means being perfectly clear that we stand on the side of freedom for the Burmese people, and against those who seek to abridge it,” McCain said.

Howard Berman, chairman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and its ranking member, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in another statement, demanded the immediate release of Suu Kyi.

“The military junta should immediately release her, allow greater political freedoms in the country, and respect the human rights of all of Burma’s citizens,” the two congresspersons said.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters at his daily press briefing that the Obama administration’s position is that Suu Kyi shouldn't be under house arrest.

“She shouldn't be—and even less so in prison,” Kelly said. “Our bottom line is, she should be released immediately.”

Senator Judd Gregg also spoke. “The only thing criminal about Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been the abusive injustices she and her supporters have suffered under the State Peace and Development Council,” he said. “Her transfer from house arrest to prison to face criminal charges is a serious matter that deserves the strongest condemnation from the world’s democracies—and from regional neighbors, including Thailand and China.”

READ MORE---> US Lawmakers Decry Junta...

Clinton to Raise Suu Kyi’s Case Worldwide

The Irrawaddy News

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she will raise the imprisonment of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi with the UN, Burma’s partners within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)—and even China.

Describing the removal of Suu Kyi from her home to Rangoon’s infamous Insein Prison as unlawful and “a pretext to place further unjustified restrictions on her,” Clinton told a press conference in Washington on Thursday that she would also raise the democracy icon’s plight with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Clinton was speaking after meeting visiting Malaysian Foreign Minister YB Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman, who promised to raise the matter with the Asean Secretariat and also seek a solution through the Asean+3 group, which includes China.

Clinton said: “We are reaching out to our Asean partners like Malaysia. I hope to be speaking myself to the [UN] Secretary-General. We think that this does rise to the level of the kind of regional statements of concern that we would ask for.

“We will also raise this with other nations like China and see if we can’t, on a humanitarian basis, seek relief for Aung San Suu Kyi from this latest effort to intimidate and perhaps even incarcerate her.”

The Malaysian Foreign Minister said the arrest of Suu Kyi made it all the more important not to isolate Burma. “We do not want to leave Myanmar in isolation,” he said.

“We will use the good office of the Asean Secretariat to immediately engage in and to finding solutions to this matter, and if it is possible, this—the Asean+3, which includes China—we would also be, if it’s necessary to engage in, to seek their views and assistance in trying to solve the problem.”

Clinton said she was deeply troubled by the decision by the Burmese regime to charge Suu Kyi with a baseless crime. “It comes just before the six-year anniversary of her house arrest, and it is not in keeping with the rule of law, the Asean charter, or efforts to promote national reconciliation and progress in Burma.

“We oppose the regime’s efforts to use this incident as a pretext to place further unjustified restrictions on her, and therefore we call on the Burmese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally, along with her doctor and the more than 2,100 political prisoners currently being held.”

READ MORE---> Clinton to Raise Suu Kyi’s Case Worldwide...

Ban ‘Concerned’ about Suu Kyi in Prison

The Irrawaddy News

WASHINGTON—United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed his concern about the news reports that Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved to the Insein Prison to face criminal charges.

However, aside from issuing a statement through his spokesperson’s office, there was no indication as to what specific measures the UN secretary-general was willing to take to resolve this latest issue in the long saga of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s detention.

“The Secretary-General believes that Aung San Suu Kyi is an essential partner for dialogue in Myanmar’s national reconciliation and calls on the Government not to take any further action that could undermine this important process,” the statement said.

Ban, who has repeatedly said in the past that he has a personal interest in Burma, believes strongly that Suu Kyi and all those who have a contribution to make to the future of their country must be free to be able to do so to ensure that the political process is credible, according to his spokesperson’s office.

Meanwhile, several world leaders, including former US President Jimmy Carter, former South African President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, condemned the latest move by the Burmese military junta. In a statement, the group of eminent world personalities—calling themselves “The Elders”—urged the military rulers to immediately release Suu Kyi, who is an honorary member of the group.

“This so-called trial is absurd!” charged Tutu. “It is an excuse by the junta to extend her incarceration yet again. Our sister must be released immediately.”

“The regime is clearly seeking reasons not to release her,” said Carter. “We stand by Aung San Suu Kyi, our fellow Elder, and urge the United Nations and Asean to dispatch envoys to Burma to demand her immediate release.”

READ MORE---> Ban ‘Concerned’ about Suu Kyi in Prison...

Only UN can save Suu Kyi: expert

By Simon Lauder for The World Today

ABC -An Australian expert says that the UN secretary-general should personally intervene into the detention of Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

There has been global condemnation of the military junta's latest move to keep Ms Suu Kyi locked up.

The charges against her, for allegedly breaching the terms of her house arrest, have been roundly dismissed by outside observers as both ridiculous and baseless.

But it could be just the thing to keep Suu Kyi out of the public eye until Burma's election next year.

Professor Monique Skidmore from Canberra University is an expert on Burma and goes there several times a year.

She says the country's military junta has made sure there is no chance of another uprising like the one which was led by monks in 2007.

"There are still monasteries completely depopulated from monks after the 2007 monk-led uprising," she told ABC Radio's The World Today.

She said the worldwide condemnation will probably not have great effect.

"I have a feeling that the only thing that may work to Aung San Suu Kyi's favour at the moment would be if the secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, was to pay another visit to Burma," she said.

"I don't think anything short of that would be an effective intervention, although I doubt that we'll see any form of the house arrest order at least coming off in the next year or so."

Mr Ban has expressed 'grave concern' about the fresh charges, spokeswoman Marie Okabe says.

"The secretary-general believes that Aung San Suu Kyi is an essential partner for dialogue in [Burma's] national reconciliation," she said.

'Ridiculous' charges

The 63-year-old was arrested after a visit from John Yettaw, a mysterious American who made wooden flippers and swam across the lake which backs onto her home.

She was charged with breaching her home detention, which was meant to run out next month.

Ms Suu Kyi's attorney, Jared Genser, says the charges are patently ridiculous and the unwanted visitor is a mystery.

"What we know about him from news reports is that he's a devout Mormon, that he is a Vietnam veteran, and that ... he may not be entirely all there from an emotional standpoint," he said.

Ms Suu Kyi has been detained for most of the time since she won the 1990 election, and now Burma is preparing for the first national elections since then.

The 63-year-old is still enormously popular in Burma, and when she is allowed out, pulls a large crowd of supporters.

Mr Genser told Radio National the junta is more scared of Ms Suu Kyi's influence than it is of world condemnation, but Burma is playing a risky game.

"I don't think that they're going to listen to an outcry. The question is whether they have overplayed their hand here," he said.

"If they actually proceed to sentence her to that kind of time in prison, I think that it will be very difficult for allies of the junta, you know, particularly some of its allies in ASEAN - China, India and others - to defend this kind of behaviour."

Worldwide condemnation

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she is deeply troubled by what she calls the "baseless charge" against the Nobel Peace laureate.

"We call on the Burmese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally, along with her doctor and the more than 2,100 political prisoners currently being held," he said.

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is also hoping the United Nations will get involved.

"It's very important that the political process is inclusive, and they have always maintained that they are in the process of doing so," he said. (JEG's: by arresting the opposition by the hour?..)

"For instance, during our last meetings, they talk about the continuation of releases of various people.(JEG's: yes, another amnesty is coming soon, early next year or late this year in preparations for the elections...)

The Australian Government has also repeated its view that Ms Suu Kyi should be immediately released.

But there is little doubt the charges against her are designed to put off her release once again.

READ MORE---> Only UN can save Suu Kyi: expert...

'Free Aung San Suu Kyi' pressure grows

SMH -Burma faced intense international pressure today to release pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi after she was imprisoned ahead of a new trial next week for breaching the terms of her house arrest.

The ruling military junta took the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from her home on Thursday to Rangoon's notorious Insein prison, where she was charged over a bizarre incident in which an American man swam to her lakeside residence.

The United States led Western calls for her immediate release while rights groups urged the UN Security Council to intervene to help the 63-year-old, whose trial is due to start at the prison on Monday.

There was no comment from Burma's secretive regime, which has kept Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for most of the last 19 years and now looks set to do so past controversial elections that are due next year.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "deeply troubled" by the "baseless" case laid against Aung San Suu Kyi just days before her latest six-year detention was to have expired.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "gravely concerned" while the UN special envoy on human rights in Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, called for Aung San Suu Kyi to be freed, and said her detention broke the country's laws.

Britain, France and other western nations - which like the United States have imposed sanctions on the country formerly known as Burma - condemned the decision and said it did not bode well for the 2010 elections.

A group of eminent statesmen including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US President Jimmy Carter also demanded her release.

Indonesia became the first of Burma's partners in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to call for the junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi and drop the "arbitrary" new charges against her.

Burmese authorities are currently holding Aung San Suu Kyi and her two maids, who were also charged, at a house inside the grounds of Insein Prison pending the trial, her lawyers have said.

Stopped by the junta from taking power after leading her National League for Democracy Party from winning a landslide victory in the country's last election in 1990, she now faces a maximum jail term of five years.

The case centred around a mysterious US national, John Yettaw, who was arrested last week after using a pair of homemade flippers to swim across a lake to Aung San Suu Kyi's crumbling house.

Reportedly a Mormon father of seven and Vietnam War veteran, the heavy-set 53-year-old also faces charges of violating the restricted area around her home and breaching immigration conditions.

His motives remain unclear but Irrawaddy magazine, published by Burma exiles in Thailand, dismissed speculation about the coincidental timing of the incident before the expiry of her detention order.

It said he was "simply a weird character who acted alone," while Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers have described him as a "fool".

Yettaw had also met with Burma exile groups in Thailand and reportedly told them he was working on a faith-based book on heroism, the magazine said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch called on the UN's Ban to press the authorities for her release, accusing the Burmese junta of taking advantage of the US man's "bizarre stunt" to keep Aung San Suu Kyi detained.

Amnesty International demanded that the UN Security Council "urgently intervene" to secure her release.

READ MORE---> 'Free Aung San Suu Kyi' pressure grows...

UN Leads Condemnation of Myanmar’s New Charges Against Suu Kyi

By By Michael Heath and Ed Johnson

(Bloomberg) -- The United Nations led international condemnation of new charges brought by Myanmar’s military junta against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and demanded her immediate and unconditional release.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner will stand trial next week accused of breaching the conditions of her house arrest order after an American national allegedly swam across a lake last week to visit her. Two of her maids also face trial.

“I call on the government of Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi and her aides unconditionally,” UN human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana said in a statement yesterday. “Since her house is well guarded by security forces, the responsibility for preventing such intrusions” lies with them, he said.

Suu Kyi, 63, has spent 13 years in detention since her National League for Democracy party won 1990 elections in the country previously known as Burma, a result rejected by the military that has ruled since 1962. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Suu Kyi had been charged with a “baseless” crime.

“We oppose the regime’s efforts to use this incident as a pretext to place further restrictions on her, and therefore we call on the Burmese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally,” Clinton said. She also called for the release of Suu Kyi’s doctor and more than 2,100 political prisoners.

Suu Kyi’s trial will begin May 18, nine days before her detention order is due to expire. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if found guilty, Nyan Win, a spokesman for the NLD, said yesterday from the former capital, Yangon, after the hearing at Insein Prison.

The American national John Yettaw, was charged with breaching a security law, he said.

Security Breach

Yettaw was detained by police last week for entering Suu Kyi’s lakeside home and staying there for two days, according to state-run media. He arrived uninvited and Suu Kyi encouraged him to leave, Jared Genser, her U.S.-based legal counsel, said yesterday before the court hearing.

Myanmar authorities have described Yettaw as a 53-year-old former soldier from Detroit. The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said he arrived in Yangon on a tourist visa on May 2 and swam to Suu Kyi’s compound the following night. He was arrested in the early hours of May 6 while swimming back across the lake.

Authorities confiscated his passport, a black haversack, torch, folding pliers, a camera, two $100 bills and some Myanmar currency, according to the newspaper. They are investigating his motives for entering Suu Kyi’s home, it said.

China, India

Human Rights Watch called on China and India, Myanmar’s closest allies, to pressure the ruling generals to free Suu Kyi. The New York-based group said the charges against her are part of an intensified campaign against pro-democracy activists that has brought increased arrests as the regime seeks to crush the opposition before elections.

The junta plans a ballot in 2010 after passing a constitution last year that it said was backed by 92 percent of voters. The NLD and other groups have denounced the charter, which bars Suu Kyi from holding office.

“China, India, Singapore, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries should be calling for a genuine and participatory political process in Burma, which means serious public pressure for the release of political opponents,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“Suu Kyi’s latest arrest shows how their silence simply encourages more contempt for basic freedoms,” she said in a statement.

Clinton, China

Clinton told reporters in Washington yesterday the U.S. wants a statement from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expressing concern about the treatment of Suu Kyi. Myanmar is a member of the 10-member regional bloc.

The Obama administration will also raise the matter with nations “like China, and see if we can’t, on a humanitarian basis, seek relief for Aung San Suu Kyi from this latest effort to intimidate and perhaps even incarcerate her,” Clinton said.

Suu Kyi has been detained since May 2003 under a law that allows someone deemed a threat to national security to be held without charge, according to Genser, president of the U.S.-based Freedom Now (read below Call to UN... Scribd) group. The junta says it can detain her under the law for six years, or until May 27, he added.

The opposition leader has suffered from dehydration, low blood pressure and a loss of appetite over the past few weeks, Nyan Win said. She underwent gynecological surgery in 2003, needed hospital treatment in 2006 and suffered low blood pressure and was unable to leave her bed in September.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at; Ed Johnson in Sydney at

Call to UN to exert pressure on Generals to free prisoners

READ MORE---> UN Leads Condemnation of Myanmar’s New Charges Against Suu Kyi...

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