Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SPDC trains for 2010 election with select supporters in Arakan

Kyaukpru, Arakan State (KPN): The Burmese military junta is providing long term training to selected supporters for the 2010 election in Kyaukpru district starting from May 15, said a village authority from Kyaukpru town.

The junta authorities are going to replace the village authority with their supporters from the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Swan Arr Shin members in Arakan, to win the election, he added.

In the first phase, the authorities started in the district of Kyaukpru and Sandaway, said a school teacher.

The authorities selected their supporters from USDA and Swan Arr Shin and will give them a month’s training about controlling people and how to woo people to support the ruling military junta in the 2010 polls, said a student who is working with USDA.

The authorities selected three persons from USDA or Swan Arr Shin from one village to replace in the village authorities, he added.

The training will be from May 15 to June 15.

The authorities collected from villagers of Kyaukpru, kyat 500 and 30 kg rice per family for the trainee’s lodging and food, said a labourer who works in the market and faces problems paying.

The authorities always pressurize local people to provide their needs, said a school teacher from Kyaukpru town.

READ MORE---> SPDC trains for 2010 election with select supporters in Arakan...

Clinton Calls Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi Outrageous

By David Gollust
State Department

(VOA) -U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday called the Burmese government's trial of Aung San Suu Kyi outrageous, and said its treatment of the democracy leader will render the country's planned elections next year illegitimate.

Clinton's comments on Burma, in two Senate hearings Wednesday on the State Department budget, were the strongest to date by the Obama administration on the latest prosecution of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The dissident figure, who has been under varying forms of detention most of the time since 1990, faces a possible five-year prison term for a bizarre incident earlier this month in which a U.S. citizen swam across a lake and entered the villa in central Rangoon where she is under house arrest.

Clinton said United States rejects the charge that Aung San Suu Kyi violated terms of her house arrest. She said the United States is trying to mobilize international pressure for her early release but acknowledged that prospects for persuading the reclusive military government to change course are uncertain.

"We don't know whether we will have any success in convincing them otherwise," said Hillary Clinton. "But it is outrageous that they are trying her, and that they continue to hold her because of her political popularity. And they intend to hold elections in 2010, which from the beginning will be illegitimate because of the way they have treated her."

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party won national elections in 1990 but was barred by the military from taking power.

The 2010 elections will be the culmination of a so-called road map to democracy engineered by the government which excludes Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, and would leave the military in control of key levers of power.

Clinton has discussed the issue with a number of Asian leaders including the secretary-general of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and told senators she is heartened by the regional response though she did not elaborate.

She said she hoped the baseless trial of Aung San Suu Kyi will end with her speedy release and the restoration of a role by her and her party in the country's political life.

READ MORE---> Clinton Calls Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi Outrageous...

Rare Access Granted at Trial

They have bamboo rods—they’re standing along
the roads and streets surrounding the prison every day."

-- Witness
After an international outcry, Burma's ruling generals let diplomats and a handful of reporters into a high-profile trial.

BANGKOK (RFA)—Reporters and diplomats were granted rare access Wednesday to observe trial proceedings against opposition leader Aung San Suu Ky, in a bizarre case that rights groups and foreign governments view as aimed at keeping her detained during next year’s elections.

“Yes, we saw Aung San Suu Kyi, and she appeared very strong,” Joselito Chad Jacinto, charge d'affaires at the Philippine Embassy, said after the court hearing at Insein Central Prison. Aung San Suu Kyi, 63 and a Nobel peace laureate, has reportedly been ill recently.

"She sat listening intently and alertly to what was going on," he said, according to the Associated Press. "She exuded a type of aura which can be described as moving, quite awe-inspiring."

But diplomats and her supporters still maintain that the trial, which was opened to some 30 diplomats and 10 journalists, is staged.

“All the paraphernalia of the courtroom was there, the judges the prosecution, the defense. But I think this is a story where the conclusion is already scripted I'm afraid," British Ambassador Mark Canning told the British Broadcasting Corp. "No, I don't have any confidence in the outcome."

No access to media

Aung San Suu Kyi has been in detention without trial for more than 13 of the last 19 years. She is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest after a U.S. man whose motives remain unclear swam to her home and stayed there without permission for two days. She faces five years in prison.

A spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party, Nyan Win, said the party “welcomes the junta's move allowing foreign diplomats to the hearing. However, other citizens interested in the case should be allow to the trial.”

He also said that since she was moved to Insein Prison, she hasn’t been permitted access to radio broadcasts or newspapers.

Witnesses said that thugs hired by the junta were serving as security for the trial for 3,000 kyat and a boxed lunch every day.

“They have bamboo rods—they’re standing along the roads and streets surrounding the prison every day,” one witness said.

Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial with two female supporters who live with her, and John Yettaw, 53, who her lawyers say swam to her lakeside home under the cover of darkness earlier this month and sneaked in uninvited.

Trial seen as ploy

"She asked why I had come. I showed her the warrant and a picture of John Yettaw," the police investigator, Captain Tin Zaw Tun, told the court of his search of Aung San Suu Kyi's lakeside home.

Another police officer testified that Aung San Suu Kyi told him that she had provided Yettaw with rehydration salts and several meals.

She was to have been freed on May 27 after six years under house arrest. This trial is widely regarded as a pretext to keep her in detention during polls scheduled for next year.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in an unusually strong statement, expressed "grave concern" Tuesday about the trial and called again for her immediate release and adequate medical care.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi were "unjustified" and called for her unconditional release and that of more than 2,100 other political prisoners.

In a statement, Singapore said its ambassador in Burma, Robert Chua, had met with Aung San Suu Kyi, who “informed the diplomatic representatives that she and her two housekeepers are well and being well treated by the Myanmar [Burmese] authorities.”

She “also informed the three diplomatic representatives that there could be many opportunities for national reconciliation if all parties so wished…She also expressed the view that it was not too late for something good to come out of this unfortunate incident,” the statement said.

Original reporting by RFA's Burmese service, with additional reporting by news agencies. Translated by Khin May Zaw. Burmese service director: Nancy Shwe. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Edited in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Published: May 20, 2009

READ MORE---> Rare Access Granted at Trial...

Mizzima UPDATES Day 3 - 20 May 2009

Mizzima D3

Suu Kyi’s trial a ’half-open court’; defense counsels
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 18:09 - BST

Defense counsels of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the trial on Wednesday was a ‘half-open’ court but welcomed the authority’s permission to allow foreign diplomats and a few journalists to witness the trial.

Kyi Win, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer, said all together 30 embassy officials and 10 journalists were present in the court session on Wednesday, where two witnesses were cross examined.

“We don’t know the reasons for allowing the diplomats and journalists but whatever it may be, we believe it is a progressive step. We want to see a more open court, where the public can also be present,” Kyi Win said.

“But now it is only a half-open court,” he added.


'Suu Kyi steady and in good health’ : Journalists
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 15:52 - BST

The third day of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial, where Bahan Police Station House Officer Tin Zaw Win, as a witness was crossed examined, began at 1:10 p.m. (local time) and ended at 2:10 p.m. (local time).

Below are excerpts from journalists, who were allowed to witness the trial at a special court in Insein prison, on Wednesday:

Wearing a pink coloured top with Yaw longyi, and a black purse, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in court at about 12:50 p.m. (local time) in a saloon car. Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma arrived separately in a van.

As usual, she looked confident and steady. She greeted her lawyers and entered the court.

After the witnesses testified, and when the court adjourned, she greeted foreign diplomats, who had come to witness the trial.

Ambassadors of Russia, Thailand and Singapore were able to have a separate meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi after the court session.

Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her concern for not being able to speak to one of the foreign correspondents.

The correspondent, while in the court, had painted a faint picture of the court room and the trial.


Briefing in front of Insein Prison
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 15:13 - BST

Journalists, who have come out of Insein Prison court, reportedly brifed what they witnessed to their colleagues waiting for them outside Insein prison. According to them, Aung San Suu Kyi’s appears to be in good health and in spirit.

But John William Yettaw, the American man, looked worried and shaken.

But the briefing was cut-short as members of Swan Arrshin, a pro-junta group, stormed in and the journalists and their friends were seen heading towards the National League for Democracy (NLD) office in Shwegondine of Bahan Township.


Court adjourns for the day, next hearing fixed for May 21
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 15:10 - BST

The court hearing for the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and three others has adjourned for the day. Diplomats, Aung San Suu Kyi’s defence councils and journalists have come out of Insein prison. The next hearing has been fixed for Thursday, May 11 at 10 a.m.


Buddhist monks protest in Bangkok
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:53 - BST

At least 30 Buddhist monks on Wednesday staged a protest rally, chanting ‘metta sutta’, in front of the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, in protest against the trial of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We are standing in front of the embassy and we are holding aloft he Buddhist religious flag. We are chanting ‘metta sutta’ for the peace of the people. We also read out our demands and gave it to the embassy. Everything was done peacefully,” Ashin U Tayza, the leader of the monks, told Mizzima.

“What is happening today [in Rangoon] is against justice, so we are demanding justice in a peaceful and just way,” the monk added.

While there has been widespread protests by Burmese activists and supporters around the world over the trial of Burma’s Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, it is the first time that Buddhist monks, as a group, has held a protest rally over the trial.

The protesters demanded the immediate cessation of the trial, to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, and to kick-start a political dialogue.

In Burma, a predominantly Buddhist country, monks had urged the military regime to begin a dialogue to solve the political crisis in 2007, but had to contend with a brutal crackdown by the military, which killed at least 30 people.


Foreign diplomats enter Insein prison
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:11 - BST

At least 25 cars carrying foreign diplomats and invited special guests along with journalists have entered Insein prison.

Meanwhile, a youth, who was taking photographs outside the Insein prison, was reportedly arrested by plainclothes police but he later escaped, eyewitnesses said.


State-run paper reports on second day's trial
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:09 - BST

Burma’s state-run newspapers on Wednesday carried a report on the second day's trial of Aung San Suu Kyi including the cross examination of five witnesses produced before the court.

On Tuesday five witnesses were cross examied. They were -- Pol Lt-Col Maung Maung Khin, Police Inspector Than Naing, Lance Corporal Myo Lwin, Police Captain Maung Maung Myint of Special Branch (Operation), Tha Sein, Chairman of Ward (4) Peace and Development Council - the reports said.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said, Pol Lt-Col Maung Maung Khin told the court that he had interrogated the American citizen John William Yettaw, and that he had entered Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, and was received by Suu Kyi and her two live-in party members, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, who served him drinking water, biscuits and cookies and also served him meals twice.

During the cross examination, another witness Police Inspector Than Naing from Police Battalion (7) said he had been on duty at the old Kanthaya Hospital near Tadabyu bus-stop on Pyay Road since the morning of May 4 and that on May 6, at 5.30 a.m saw a suspicious object floating in Innya Lake about 100 yards off the bank and found that together with the object was a foreigner. He read out the materials he had seized from the foreigner, the paper said.

Witness Police Captain Maung Maung Myint of Special Branch (operation) told the court that at about 5 am on 6 May, police inspector Than Naing of platoon (3), police battalion (7), handed over to him Mr. John William Yettaw, an American citizen who had left Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house by swimming across Innya Lake, and that he had checked the materials seized from Yettaw in the presence of Tha Sein, Chairman of Ward (4) Peace and Development Council, and U Soe Myint, the paper added.


Security Council ponders statement on Suu Kyi trial
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 13:30 - BST

If member states can reach an agreement on language and magnitude, the United Nations Security Council could issue a statement on the trial of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi by Wednesday, New York time.

According to the Security Council's Update Report No. 3 on the situation in Burma, issued yesterday, "The Council is currently negotiating a possible statement reacting to the ongoing trial of Aung San Suu Kyi."

However, though most members are said to be in agreement on the need for a statement, there appears to be a question as to what form such a statement should take.

Specifically, should the Council issue a Press or Presidential statement.

While a Presidential statement carries more authority, somewhat analogous to a Resolution, by demanding compliance with the Council's findings, a Press statement's primary intent is to inform of the Council's opinion on a given topic.

China, Russia and Japan are singled out as having expressed the opinion that a cautious approach is best pursued. However, some members of the Council, including permanent members the United States, United Kingdom and France have already unilaterally condemned the actions of the junta in bringing Suu Kyi to trial.

Russia holds the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of May.


Ten journalists selected to be present in Suu Kyi’s trial
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 12:45 - BST

Five foreign correspondents and five local journalists have been allowed access to Insein prison court to witness the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi

“Five foreign correspondents and five local journalists have been selected through a lucky-draw system” a foreign correspondent in Rangoon told Mizzima. "We are now entering Insein prison," he said.

The move to allow journalists to witness the trial came after authorities rejected the appeal by Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers and US state department’s call to conduct the trial in an open court in order to allow the public to be present.


Junta to allow foreign diplomats to meet Suu Kyi
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 11:31 - BST

Some diplomats from foreign embassies will be allowed to meet Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently detained in the notorious Insein prison and facing trial, on the afternoon of Wednesday, diplomatic sources in Rangoon said. Along with the diplomats, Rangoon-based foreign correspondents will also be allowed to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.


Burmese Government in exile urges Gambari to revisit
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 11:29 - BST

Burma’s government in exile– the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB) – has urged the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to discuss Burma and immediately resend the UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari.


Junta to brief foreign and UN diplomats
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 10:54 - BST

Burma’s military regime is set to brief diplomats from foreign embassies and United Nations agencies on the charges levelled and the ongoing trial against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Rangoon’s Pyi Road on Wednesday morning.

READ MORE---> Mizzima UPDATES Day 3 - 20 May 2009...

Diplomats and journalists allowed access to Suu Kyi trial

by Mungpi

New Delhi (Mizzima) - In a surprise move, Burmese authorities on Wednesday allowed 30 foreign diplomats and ten journalists into the special court in Insein Prison, prompting defense counsels of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to label the proceedings a “half-open court”.

Though the motivation behind permitting the foreign diplomats and journalists into the courtroom remains unclear, Nyan Win, one of the defense counsels and spokesperson for the NLD, said, “We welcome the move, and would like to see more openness.”

He said authorities on Monday rejected their appeal to conduct the trial in an open court but that the admittance of the diplomats on Wednesday is certainly an improvement.

After the court session, three diplomats – a Russian, Thai and Singaporean – were invited for a special meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, Nyan Win added.

For the ten journalists – five local representatives of foreign news outlets and five local journalists – they have to thank their luck as the authorities selected them in a lucky-draw.

One of the stringers for a foreign news outlet who was among the ten journalists allowed inside the courtroom said he is not sure whether any journalists would be allowed in again for the next hearing fixed for Thursday.

He said they were unable to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi separately and were banned from carrying recorders and cameras. They were only able to talk to the diplomats, who, like them, were allowed inside the courtroom.

“Aung San Suu Kyi looks good, composed and steady. We could see her but could not talk to her,” the correspondent said.

Speedy trial

With the next hearing fixed for May 21, Thursday, Nyan Win said the trial is being conducted on a day-to-day basis, indicating the authority’s desire not to prolong the case.

“We can say that the trial is being conducted in a speedy manner,” said Nyan Win, adding that if the trial is being conducted at this speed, the court could come to a verdict by three weeks’ time.

He said there are 20 witnesses that the prosecution has submitted, out of which eight have thus far been cross examined.

Lesser security apparatus

Nyan Win said, strangely, security around Insein Prison on Wednesday was less visible, though the roads remained blocked with barbwire barricades.

“I did not see many security forces on our way to Insein, but I think the security personnel are in plainclothes and are mostly keeping away from the main road,” he speculated.

Demand for open court trial

The NLD, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, meanwhile issued a statement on Wednesday demanding public access to the court.

The party, in its statement, argues that the junta’s laws permit trials to be conducted under public scrutiny.

“Plainly, we reject this trial. But if the trial is to be continued, it should done in an open court where the people can gain access,” Win Tin, veteran journalist and central committee member of the NLD, told Mizzima.

Meanwhile, a correspondent of a foreign news service who was allowed access to the court on Wednesday said it is good that media personnel were allowed in but that the junta should think of opening up the court still further.

“As a citizen of Burma, I would like to see more openness and transparency in the trial,” he said.

But, he continued, it is uncertain whether the junta would allow any diplomats or journalists to enter the court on Thursday.

“Though there hasn’t been any notice, I will still wait outside of the prison. Maybe they will allow us to enter again like today,” he added.

READ MORE---> Diplomats and journalists allowed access to Suu Kyi trial...

Security beefed up in few towns in Rakhine State

by Nyein Chan

Dhaka (Mizzima) – The Burmese military junta authorities have tightened security in Sittwe and Tungup towns in Western Burma where anti-regime protests took place in the recent past.

Two days after Aung San Suu Kyi was transferred to Insein prison on May 14 to face her trial, the police in Sittwe were deployed at crowded places in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine (Arakan state) - such as near the Town Hall, around the University, Atulamarazein and Ye Kyaw Thu pagodas, Vaishali stadium, U Ottama Park and Lawkananda pagodas.

"There are 300 police personnel deployed here. They are standing by, a local resident from Narzi Ward told Mizzima.

Similarly, police personnel have been patrolling Tungup in southern Rakhine State, since May 17.

"About 100 policemen are patrolling the town in three police patrol cars. The local authorities are closely monitoring the situation in the backdrop of Daw Suu's trial," the local resident from Tungup said.

A youth from Tungup National League for Democracy (NLD) said that the local people are disenchanted with the transfer of Aung San Suu Kyi to Insein prison to face trial.

"We are also watching the situation very closely. We will launch a movement if necessary," he said.

Sittwe and Tungup are the places where political protests and movements have taken place and demonstrations were staged during the 2007 September saffron revolution.

READ MORE---> Security beefed up in few towns in Rakhine State...

Suu Kyi hopes for 'better days' - From correspondents in Rangoon
Agence France-Presse

BURMESE opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi said she hoped for "better days", as the ruling junta unexpectedly allowed diplomats and reporters to attend her trial today.

The 63-year-old looked healthy as she thanked foreign envoys for coming to the Insein Prison, in her first public comments since she was charged last week with breaching her house arrest, an AFP reporter inside the court said.

"Thank you very much for coming and for your support," Aung San Suu Kyi, wearing pink Burmese traditional dress, said inside the courtroom at the end of the third day of the trial.

"I can't meet you one by one, but I hope to meet you all in better days."

Aung San Suu Kyi then went for a meeting with the ambassadors of Thailand, Singapore and Russia at a so-called "guest house" inside the prison compound.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner faces up to five years in jail if convicted of charges of breaching her house arrest stemming from an incident earlier this month in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside house.

The surprise move by the military regime to allow some diplomats and media access to the trial followed intense international pressure and a scathing condemnation by Burma's normally placid Southeast Asian neighbours.

Authorities held the first two days of hearings behind closed doors and had turned away European diplomats on Monday, but today said representatives from all 30 foreign embassies would be allowed in.

The regime also allowed five journalists from foreign news organisations and the same number from local organisations to report on the hearing.

Details had previously emerged only in state media or through Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers.

There was no immediate information available on her meeting with the Thai, Singaporean and Russian envoys - a rare encounter with the outside world for Aung San Suu Kyi, who is normally kept in virtual isolation at her home.

She has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention since the regime refused to recognise her party's landslide victory in the last elections to be held in Myanmar in 1990.

Thailand was picked because it holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while the Singaporean envoy is the doyen of Rangoon's diplomatic corps and Russia heads the UN Security Council.

Asked to explain the regime's apparent change of heart, a western diplomat said that following international pressure on the ruling generals, particularly by ASEAN, "one has to ask if all these pressures played a role".

Today, the trial heard from only one police witness about the arrest of Mr Yettaw, who used a pair of homemade flippers to swim across the lake before spending two days at Aung San Suu Kyi's residence.

Mr Yettaw, a 53-year-old former US army veteran from Missouri, and two female aides who live with the Opposition leader are also on trial.

Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers have described Mr Yettaw as a "fool" and said she only allowed the American, reportedly a diabetic, to stay after he complained of suffering from leg cramps.

READ MORE---> Suu Kyi hopes for 'better days'...

Diplomats meet with Suu Kyi

(DVB)–Three foreign diplomats who were granted access to the courtroom where Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial today met face-to-face with the defendant following the hearing.

On the third day of the trial against the Burmese opposition leader accused of breaching conditions of her house arrest, the court heard testimonies from two witnesses.

Suu Kyi is charged with sheltering John Yettaw, who swam to her compound where she is held under house arrest earlier this month.

In a surprise move, the Burmese government allowed around 30 foreign diplomats and 10 journalists to observe the hearings.

Following the close of court, diplomats from Russia, Singapore and Thailand were granted permission to meet with Suu Kyi. The outcome of the meeting is unclear.

Both Russia and Thailand have strong ties with Burma’s ruling junta.

During the trial, the courtroom heard evidence from two police officers; one who had picked up Yettaw’s items from his hotel in Rangoon, and another who had collected items he left at Suu Kyi’s house.

Suu Kyi passed on a message to the audience at the court that she was unable greet each one of them in person but thanked them for their attendance.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

READ MORE---> Diplomats meet with Suu Kyi...

Journalists and diplomats allowed inside Suu Kyi trial

(DVB)–In a surprise move, the Burmese government has allowed 10 reporters and a number of foreign diplomats inside the courtroom where Aung San Suu Kyi is currently on trial.

The move has surprised many observers given that media is usually barred from trials involving high-profile Burmese political prisoners.

Five reporters from international media agencies Reuters, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Nippon TV, Sankei Shimbun and Jiji Press – the latter three Japanese – have entered.

They are soon to be followed by five domestic Burmese journalists. None of the reporters are allowed cameras or recording equipment.

National League for Democracy Central Executive Committee member, Win Tin, said that the foreign journalists were allowed in under a raffle system.

“Whatever it is, the situation is a little bit extraordinary,” he said, adding however that the demands of Suu Kyi’s supporters were still far from being met.

“But we feel slightly better now that the media and the like are allowed in. We like it," he said.

A reported 28 embassy cars were allowed inside Insein prison today, where the trial is being held, including officials from the United States, Britain, Germany and France.

No further information has been given.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

READ MORE---> Journalists and diplomats allowed inside Suu Kyi trial...

Yettaw ‘had visions’ of Suu Kyi in danger

(DVB)–The US citizen who swam to Aung San Suu Kyi’s compound earlier this month reportedly had visions in which he saw a potential threat to Suu Kyi’s life, he told the courtroom yesterday.

John Yettaw is currently in the third day of court hearings in which he is accused of breaching immigration laws relating to his stay at the opposition leader’s compound.

According to National League for Democracy spokesperson Nyan Win, Yettaw had asked a witness in the courtroom to confirm that he had confessed to having a vision of Suu Kyi.

“During the hearing, Mr Yettaw told his lawyer, U Khin Maung Oo, to ask a question to one of the witnesses whether it was correct that he confessed to them he came to Burma to warn Daw Suu and the government about a potential danger upon her life which he saw in his visions,” said Nyan Win.

“The court refused to accept the question.”

According to the mother of his six children, Yettaw, an ex-Vietnam War veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is on a disability pension.

Meanwhile, supporters of Suu Kyi waiting outside Rangoon’s Insein prison, where the trial is being held, were yesterday handed food and drinks by sympathizers, mirroring the support demonstrators received during the September 2007 uprising.

“This show the people’s support for us,” said Win Tin, NLD Central Executive Committee member.

“We are not staging a protest here, but we are only waiting here to express our will.”

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

READ MORE---> Yettaw ‘had visions’ of Suu Kyi in danger...

Yettaw Isn’t the Only Fool in this Bizarre Affair

The Irrawaddy News

World attention is focused on Rangoon and the trial there of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a man who appears to be responsible for her appearance in court—the American intruder John W Yettaw.

Exiled Burmese and Suu Kyi’s colleagues accuse Yettaw of recklessness and plain stupidity. Suu Kyi’s lawyer has called the American a fool.

Yettaw is by no means the only fool in this bizarre affair, however. Consider for a moment the question: who is behind the affair, and why did junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe dare to go this far?

Than Shwe, it must be remembered, was implicated in the Depayin massacre in 2003, when Suu Kyi’s motorcade was attacked by pro-regime thugs. In September 2007, he was again implicated in the killing of monks and activists who peacefully took to the streets.

The September crackdown and subsequent arrests could not have occurred without Than Shwe’s approval.

Under Than Shwe’s command, Burmese Army forces have been guilty of countless crimes against ethnic minorities. The reports of forced labor, conscription, extortion, torture and other human rights abuses are endless.

On this record, Than Shwe is the one who should now be standing trial.

Than Shwe commits his crimes with impunity, in the knowledge that previous protests quickly die away. The former psychological warfare officer knows how to manipulate international opinion and is fully aware of the meaning of global hypocrisy.

Perhaps Than Shwe anticipated the short-lived outcry and outrage that greeted his action against Suu Kyi. He was confident he could get away with the preposterous charge that has now been brought against her—knowing that his confidence could be placed in a company of fools and idiots.

They include hypocritical leaders in the West and Asia and officials sitting comfortably in their UN offices in New York. They acted swiftly, trotting out their customary condemnation of the regime—like so many times in the past.

These people—not just Yettaw—should be nailed. The UN “special envoys,” including Ibrahim Gambari, even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself, all those who put their name to statements hailing Burma’s “progress” and calling for a “new page” of national reconciliation to be turned.

When these crackpots take the podium, don’t they consider consequences of what they say?

Nail, too, their “partners in crime,” who insisted all along that the generals were just misunderstood men who were willing to cooperate with the international community. These misguided experts, scholars, diplomats and apologists—where are they hiding now?

Until Suu Kyi’s arraignment in the prison court, they had been loud enough, defending the regime’s human rights record and belittling Suu Kyi and her movement.

The question of Suu Kyi’s relevance in Burmese politics crops up constantly in discussions I participate in. Perhaps Than Shwe has now shown those who doubt Suu Kyi’s relevance that she remains a force to be reckoned with. Ironically, Than Shwe has caused them to lose face, as they can no longer even justify a policy of engagement.

We have no shortage of fools—not only activists but also some diplomats, government officials and self-appointed experts on Burma. They talk nonsense on Burma—a western ambassador recently told me: “You’ll all be going home after the 2010 election.” What naïve rubbish!

Instead of writing an open letter to Suu Kyi, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would do better to address large oil companies like US-based Chevron, French Total, Malaysia’s Petronas and South Korea's Daewoo International Corp, which do so much to prop up Than Shwe and his regime.

US President Barack Obama and French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy could offer moral support by wiring letters to the leaders of China, India, Russia and Thailand, countries which are among the principal backers of the regime.

The truth is that Than Shwe is still in the driver’s seat. Asean, the UN, China, and the rest of the world are again just reacting to Than Shwe’s latest dirty trick. All the statements of support for Suu Kyi and condemnation of her tormentors will soon evaporate into thin air. Global outrage will then turn into global hypocrisy.

READ MORE---> Yettaw Isn’t the Only Fool in this Bizarre Affair...

Is it Time to Take Than Shwe to International Criminal Court?

The Irrawaddy News

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta and the Burma Lawyers’ Council have announced they are ready to appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to charge Snr-Gen Than Shwe with criminal acts.

The ICC was established in 2002 as a permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The court’s Pre-Trial Chamber can authorize its Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation on the basis of information received from outside sources.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said he would appeal to the ICC to investigate Burma’s ruling junta if it fails to free Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested last week and is standing trial on what many say are trumped up charges.

The Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) said on Saturday it will seek to restore the rule of law to Burma by asking the ICC to launch an investigation into human rights abuses and violations of international law in Burma.

Nan Shan Hpound, a team leader of the BLC Working Team for the International Criminal Court, told The Irrawaddy, "Now we are gathering evidence and collating information on how to prosecute the military generals in the International Criminal Court.”

Ramos-Horta said he will urge the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC to investigate and prosecute Sen-Gen Than Shwe and other responsible leaders of the State Peace and Development Council for crimes committed under their leadership.

The ICC has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes which have been committed or are being committed if a given state’s judicial system is unable or unwilling to investigate and take legal action to ensure justice.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now being tried for violation of her house arrest, is being detained under the State Protection Law of 1975. The government is permitted to detain her for five years under that law. Contrary to law, they have already held her in detention for almost six years.

The Women’s League of Burma (WLB) said it also supports a move to appeal to the ICC and called for the international community to join in referring Snr-Gen Than Shwe and others to the ICC.

Lway Aye Nang, the general-secretary of the WLB, told The Irrawaddy, "The time has come to say enough is enough. The United Nations should invoke its responsibility-to-protect mechanism and establish a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in Burma. The Burmese military ignores all international laws and uses rape as a weapon of war. Snr-Gen Than Shwe is a real criminal.”

International condemnation against the Burmese military government has increased as a result of its recent arrest and prosecution of Suu Kyi, who faces a five-year prison sentence if she is found guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest. She has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.

READ MORE---> Is it Time to Take Than Shwe to International Criminal Court?...

Asean’s Human Rights Dilemma

The Irrawaddy News

KUALA LUMPUR —Thailand announced a statement as chair of Asean on Tuesday that expressed grave concern over the arrest and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi. As Asean chair, it said that it was ready to play a mediation role in Burma’s “national reconciliation process” and a “peaceful transition to democracy” in the country.

But, the arrest and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, coupled with the international outrage in the West, has clearly put Asean’s human rights charter in the spotlight, which is now undergoing its first major test. Its response appears to be a carbon copy of its reactions and statements prior to its creation of a human rights charter.

So far only Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have expressed their concern over Burma’s worsening political situation in recent weeks. Another founding member country, Malaysia, and other four countries including the next Asean chair, Vietnam, have remained silent.

Analysts agree that Burma continues to be an embarrassment for Asean. As a member country, shouldn’t Burma abide by the intent of Asean’s human rights charter, and, if it doesn’t, what should be the consequences?

A Thai member of parliament, Kraisak Choonhavan, told reporters at the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand on May 15 that the junta’s current action is totally against the Asean Charter.

Many think the Burmese military regime is in violation of article 14 of the Asean Human Rights Body (AHRB). A draft of the forthcoming AHRB states that one of purposes of the human rights body is to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Asean.

Thitinan Pongsuhirak, the director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, said that Burma’s 2010 election is a violation of the Asean Charter because it is not a free and fair democratic election, but a rigged process to establish the regime as “legitimate.”

Since military-ruled Burma became a member of Asean in 1997, it has been a contentious issue for Asean, which is often forced to equivocate and haul out its oft-mentioned “non-interference policy” in internal matters of member states. The European Union and the United States are strong critics of Burma’s absolute lack of human rights and rule of law.

The Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) had been postponed several times because of Burmese issues and the EU’s common position on the country, which bans EU visas for officials of the Burmese junta and official visits of EU officials to Burma.

On Monday, Suu Kyi’s first day of trial, EU foreign ministers discussed the Burma issue in Brussels. After the meeting, ministers denounced the Suu Kyi trial and called for Burma’s neighbors to push the junta for positive change in the country. It also warned of further sanctions against Burma.

Czech President Václav Klaus will chair the EU-China Summit in Prague on May 20. At the meeting, the EU is expected to bring up Burma with its Chinese counterpart. Recently, China modified its Burma policy to include the principle of stability, development and national reconciliation.

ASEM foreign ministers and Asean foreign ministers will meet in Hanoi on May 22-25 to discuss bilateral issues between the two groupings. EU ministers have said they will raise the Burma issue when they are in Hanoi.

However, Asean, now celebrating its 40th anniversary, will avoid taking a critical stand, citing its core principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries.

The principle is enshrined in article 2 of the Asean Charter, which critics say effectively makes the Asian grouping toothless in terms of human rights issues.

By 2015, the Asean goal is full integration of all 10-member nations under an EU- style single market region.

Commenting on Asean integration, Latheefa Koya, a leading human rights advocate, said many Asean countries still lack a democratic civil society and an independent press.

Asean’s integration motto is: “One Vision, one Identity, one Community.” How that will accommodate human rights abuses is anyone’s guess.

Some observers note the motto’s similarity to the Burmese military regime’s motto of “One Blood, one Voice, one Command.”

This story was written under a 2009 Southeast Asian Press Alliance Fellowship.

READ MORE---> Asean’s Human Rights Dilemma...

Prices Rise in Burma during Suu Kyi Trial


The price of basic commodities, fuel and gold has risen in Rangoon following the arrest and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, according to local residents.

According to a gold shop owner in downtown Rangoon, the price of gold in Burma reached 528,000 kyat (US $493) per tical (6.4 grams) on Tuesday, rising from 515,000 kyat ($481).

“Buyers are still increasing, especially buyers from the countryside,” said a gold shop owner. “The price of gold will go up in the coming days.”

The price of gold on the global market is currently $925 per ounce; diesel oil is $2.231 per gallon (3.8 liters); and gasoline is $2.30 per gallon. A black market fuel trader in Rangoon said that one gallon of diesel currently costs 2,200 kyat ($2.05) and a gallon of gasoline is 3,000 kyat ($2.8o).

Burma has a quota system for the allocation of fuel to car owners, allowing them to receive up to 60 gallons of fuel each month at a cost of 3,000 kyat ($2.8o) a gallon for diesel and 2,500 kyat ($2.3o) for gasoline.

The ongoing instability of Burmese politics contributes to the cost increases in basic commodities, because people tend to stock up on goods in troubled times, said a Rangoon business man.

A Rangoon foreign currency dealer said that Burmese currency prices have decreased in recent days because people tend to buy more foreign currencies, mainly the dollar.

A dollar is now at 1,070 kyat, depreciating from 1,050 on Friday. A Foreign Exchange Currency (FEC) is equal to 1,015 kyat, according to the currency exchange market in Rangoon.

According to a trader at the Bayint Naung Wholesale Market in Rangoon, standard-quality rice is currently priced at 26,000 kyat ($24) for one basket (approximately 20 kilograms per basket) and low-quality rice is 15,000 kyat ($14).

READ MORE---> Prices Rise in Burma during Suu Kyi Trial...

Security Council Members Hold Informal Discussions on Burma

The Irrawaddy News

WASHINGTON — Members of the UN Security Council have informally begun discussions on the possibility of issuing a statement on the current situation in Burma, especially the ongoing trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, following an initiative by the United States, France and Britain.

Members of the Security Council and UN secretary-general have been under pressure during the past one week following a global outcry against the detention and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi by the Burmese military government.

The Burmese community and its pro-democracy leaders have sought intervention from the Security Council, along with 72 former prime ministers and presidents, more than 40 global celebrities and 11 Nobel laureates in statements and letters urging the Security Council to take up the matter on an urgent basis.

However, because of resistance by China and Russia—two veto-wielding members—the 15-member UN body is not expected to be able to make much headway. Informed sources at UN headquarters in New York said the other three permanent members of the Council —the US, Britain and France—have made a fresh move on the need to issue either a press statement or a presidential statement by the Security Council.

The Security Council could have a formal meeting on Burma, if an agreement is reached among its 15 members. China is opposed to such a move, saying it would be considered as interference in the internal affairs of a country. Russia and Japan too are believed to have adopted a cautious approach in this regard.

On the other hand, the US, Britain and France argue that the current situation in Burma and the ongoing trial of Aung San Suu Kyi deserves the immediate attention of the Security Council. In a Presidential Statement issued in October 2007, the Security Council called for the release of all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Meanwhile, two Noble laureates—the Dalai Lama and Jose Ramos Horta—joined nine other recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in writing to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the issue. “We urge you to discuss this matter with the members of the United Nations Security Council and to do so as expeditiously as possible,” the Noble laureates said in a letter dated May 18.

In a related development, the US State Department said that a consular officer from the US Embassy in Rangoon has been permitted to observe the joint legal proceedings against Aung San Suu Kyi and an American national, John W. Yettaw, who was arrested for allegedly staying overnight at the house of the Burmese leader.

The State Department said that its Burma policy continues to be under review. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated during her trip to Asia in February, neither sanctions nor engagement alone have succeeded in bringing about change in Burma, the State Department said in a written response to a question from reporters.

“The goal of our policy is to encourage progress toward democracy and the protection of human rights. We are reviewing all elements of our policy to assure that we are pursuing the most effective means of achieving that goal,” the State Department said.

In another statement, Rep Joe Crowley urged the Burmese military regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and abandon their campaign of intimidation against her.

“I am also concerned about her current state of health, and the military junta should allow her doctor to examine and provide her with the necessary medical treatment. This is another example of the Burmese dictatorship's attempt to stay in power at all cost— including at the expense of the people of Burma," Crowley said.

READ MORE---> Security Council Members Hold Informal Discussions on Burma...

Journalists Attend Suu Kyi Trial

The Irrawaddy News

Ten journalists were allowed inside the courtroom on Wednesday to cover the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said journalists in Rangoon.

Five journalists working for foreign news media were chosen by lot. Three were Japanese journalists and two work for Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

Riot police officers stand guard at a road block near Insein Prison in the northern suburb of Rangoon. (Photo: AP)

The remaining five were chosen by Burmese authorities. Sources believe they represent state-backed newspapers and publications associated with the regime.

A journalist who was chosen to report on the trial said it was not clear whether the authorities will allow the journalists to bring recorders and cameras into the courtroom. In the past, he said, journalists have not been able to use recorders or cameras when covering sensitive events.

A Burmese journalist in Rangoon confirmed that one journalist from the Myanmar Times was chosen to cover the trial.

Associated Press writers, who participated in the draw, lost out to the luck of the draw, sources said.

Wednesday is day three of the trial of Suu Kyi, who has been charged with violating the terms of her house arrest by allowing a US citizen, John William Yettaw, to stay overnight at her compound on Inya Lake. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

Yettaw, 53, who allegedly swam across the lake to the compound, which is under 24-hour guard, is also on trial for violating Burmese security laws and immigration laws, along with two housekeepers who live with Suu Kyi.

READ MORE---> Journalists Attend Suu Kyi Trial...

Suu Kyi on trial amid increased calls for UN action

by Larry Jagan

Bangkok (Mizzima) - As Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial in Insein prison continues, there is mounting international pressure on the military regime to release her.

Many of the world’s leaders have voiced their concerns at the new charges that have been brought against her, as a result of an unwanted visit to her residence by an American psychology student. Several south-east Asian leaders, normally coy to criticise their neighbours, have also joined the international outcry. Thailand as the president of the regional bloc, ASEAN, issued a collective statement raising the region’s concerns.

But the regime may have shot itself in the foot, according to some observers in Burma. “People are angry, and after the violent crackdown on the monks 18 months ago, may take to the streets again to show their opposition to the junta’s latest absurdity,” said a Rangoon-based diplomat on condition of anonymity. But behind the scenes it may also open opportunities for dialogue between the military rulers and the pro-democracy movement that Aung San Suu Kyi leads, according to some Asian diplomats.

Many are calling on the UN to take up the case, including the former UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. “The only body that the junta really fears, is the Security Council,” Pinheiro told Mizzima in an exclusive interview. “I have personal evidence of this. So the Security Council must address this immediately as matter of absolute urgency,” he said.

The Burmese opposition leader, who was detained nearly six years ago, after her car and entourage were brutally attacked by pro-government thugs when she was travelling in central Burma, has been accused of breaking the conditions of her house arrest.

John William Yettaw, a US citizen, using homemade flippers, swam to Suu Kyi's home. Both Aung San Suu Kyi and her two female assistants asked him to leave, but gave him food and shelter. Yettaw swam to her home on 30 November last year and left a copy of the Book of Mormon after she refused to see him, according to a copy of the police complaint seen by Mizzima.

“This time, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi allowed him to stay at her residence until the night of May 5, 2009, spoke with him and provided him with food and drinks,” the police complaint said.

Aung San Suu Kyi is ready to fight the charges, according to her lawyer, Kyi Win who was only allowed to see her last weekend, on the eve of the trial. Suu Kyi told Yettaw to leave, but he refused, her lawyer told reporters after he visited her. She did not report him to the authorities because,” she did not want anybody to get into trouble because of her,” he said.

“These latest charges are a complete and crude fabrication, a pretext to keep Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in detention,” Pinheiro said.

“But it was completely predictable as the regime, since the fall of (former prime minister and intelligence chief) Khin Nyunt (in 2004), has had no intentions of freeing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or allowing her party (the NLD) to participate in the political process.”

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years in detention. She has been in virtual isolation during that time being allowed few visitors, apart from her doctor and lawyer, and with her phone line cut.

The current detention order was due to expire on 27 May, but legal experts believe the regime was about to renew the detention order for another six months until November – which would be the maximum possible. While other legal experts believe the six years should be up in May, the fact is that Aung San Suu Kyi was only put under house arrest in October 2003, having been originally detained in Insein prison and the allowed to have a major hysterectomy operation before being transferred to her home to recuperate. Only in November was the current detention under the State Protection Act formalised.

There has been an international furore ever since Aung San Suu Kyi was charged. The cries against the trumped up charges have grown louder and louder as the trial continues. Whatever Than Shwe and the other generals thought was a good idea – putting Aung San Suu Kyi on trial -- could yet back-fire. It is quite clear that the regime’s main intention is to keep the charasmatic pro-democracy leader silent in the run up to the pallnd elections next year, as part of the democracy roadmap announced in August 2003.

But instead, this thinly veiled attempt to paint Aung San Suu Kyi as the villian and imprison her on false charges instead of allowing her to remain under house arrest in her ‘castle’ until the detention period ran out will only anger most people inside and outside the country. More importantly it raises critical questions about the junta’s commitment to the roadmap.

“I think for certain ASEAN would like to see reconciliation, genuine reconciliation [in Burma], and we are hoping the election will be an instrument of genuine reconciliation,” the ASEAN Secretary General told Mizzima recently. “For that to happen, the process needs to credible and inclusive.” The Thai prime minister also stressed this when he met his Burmese counterpart, Then Sein at the ASEAN summit in Hua Hin in February. But there is no doubt that the trial of the opposition leader – in relative secrecy – belies the regime’s assurances to its neighbours that the process is on track and genuine guided democracy will be the outcome.

“The roadmap for me is a process of political consolidation of the regime’s authoritarianism – it’s a roadblock to democracy,” Professor Pinheiro candidly told Mizzima. And he should know – have been one of the few to talk to the military leaders and Aung San Suu Kyi on occasions during his stint as the UN’s human rights envoy to Burma between 2000 and 2007.

“This was crystal clear: from the reopening of the National Convention in May 2004 – with handpicked delegates and without the participation of the NLD and other political parties,” he said. “The constitution is a fully-fledged mockery and the referendum – held during the devastating cyclone – was a fully-fledged sham.”

The former UN insists the whole process is flawed because of the regime’s failure to involve crucial sections of the country, namely the pro-democracy political parties. In fact he is sure they never intended to allow the NLD any role at all in the roadmap.

“During my last meeting, with the junta after the democratic protests in 2007, the Generals made it crystal clear to me that they didn’t have any intentions of allowing the NLD to participate in the process of drafting the constitution.”

“The head of the constitutional drafting committee even put it on writing for me,” Professor Piniero confided.

“The NLD will never, never be associated with the process,” said the written statement handed to the UN envoy on his last visit in late 2007. “It is wishful thinking to believe that the junta could be convinced to bring the NLD on board,” he said.

“It is a great mistake to continue to believe that the junta is committed to a meaningful transition to democracy, as in the Philippines and Indonesia. There have been abundant signals that the roadmap was not an inclusive process and the referendum dispelled any remaining doubts – this is a hyper-flawed process that will not lead anywhere, it’s simply a consolidation of the military’s control of the state,” Professor Pinheiro told Mizzima.

The international community has reacted strongly, with the US president Barack Obama already renewing sanctions. The European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the EU would also consider toughening sanctions against the Burmese regime.

But Professor Pinheiro believes it is time for more imaginative action. “I don’t think the threat of sanctions or more sanctions will have any affect on the junta,” he told Mizzima.

“What is necessary is super-quiet diplomacy, led jointly and collaboratively by the US and China – the only two countries that can influence Burma’s military rulers,” he suggested. “But is has to be done secretly, and not in the public gaze.”

The first step though is to raise the issue again at the UN Security Council – which is likely to happen within the next few days. Another presidential statement is expected, but this is likely to be ignored as was the last one in 2007.

Many activists now believe that the UN SC should consider placing the regime on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

“It is frivolous and misguided to insist that the junta is a threat to region’s security. I think over the years, my own reports and others have collected sufficient evidence to demonstrate not only the systematic human rights violations, but the crimes against humanity committed by the junta,” Professor Pinheiro told Mizzima.

READ MORE---> Suu Kyi on trial amid increased calls for UN action...

In the end, the Lady will surely win

W. Scott Thompson

(NST) -THERE are two questions to be asked about the dreary news from dreary Myanmar. One is whether this group of generals will bend under pressure. The other is whether the international icon, Nobel Peace Prize winner and indisputable winner of the only valid elections in a generation is tough enough to take it.

To many observers last year, it looked like an end game, with Buddhist monks burning themselves and thousands marching in the streets. This was it, so many said.

My friend Jose Almonte, Asean strategist par excellence and the former national security adviser in Manila, visited the junta several times and tried to find a window of opportunity for reform and eventual democratisation there. "No, these aren't like generals anywhere else," he said. "They're not going anywhere and they're not going to give in."

Alas, he was proved right. They all look ridiculous, out of step with the rest of the world (except maybe to their North Korean friends). But as long as China wants their resources and their air and land space for passage to the sea, and as long as India refuses to push them to reform, why should they care?

They have presided over the step-by-step creation of a failed state, a basket case. It used to be on the make; now it's down at the bottom of the barrel and they're still digging. It's in a category with Somalia and Congo, the poorest in the world.
What that means for the ordinary citizen is the loss of what most of the region takes as a right -- job creation, education, medical access and lots of other amenities. The junta has blockaded themselves in a new secure capital and don't read the International Herald Tribune, let alone the Economist.

They don't care about international sanctions, which mainly help the poor get poorer, and they don't care how stupid they look. Receipts from their natural resources pour right into their coffers and keep them living in high style.

I have a friend named Zarni, an American PhD who created the Free Burma Coalition and advanced the cause of democratisation in his home country for over a decade. Last year he gave up, realising international pressure was going nowhere. He now fosters a dialogue that at least might lighten the load on his countrymen and women. He estimates that the total cost of the junta's policies has roughly equalled those of the Khmer Rouge on Cambodia -- a few million, if at a slower rate of death.

But where is the Western leverage to force a transition, however gradual, to democracy? Unlike South Africa, where there was a substantial minority that wanted good relations with the outside world, in Myanmar there's only the military -- enshrined in a constitutionally superior position in the new constitution passed at the time of last year's typhoon -- and the increasingly poor peasantry.

The military is taught that soldiers are the only ones standing up for an independent Myanmar, the only force working against ethnic minority warfare and consequent national disintegration. And they are rewarded accordingly; they are the national elite living above the rest of their fellow citizens.

So what's the solution? Nothing since the 1988 repression has worked. The military is as strongly ensconced as ever. But it is useful to consider where "engagement", as now proposed by many activists, has worked. In Timor Leste, most of the leadership agrees that had engagement not been attempted, their country would have never won its independence; Indonesia could have just maintained its hard line.

"Engagement" hasn't overturned the North Korean leadership, but it's brought some relief to millions of starved peasants and opens a window at least a little bit for exchanges with the outside world; even a few exchanges of long-divided family members.

But is this enough? Zarni now makes a critical distinction between constructive and "strategic" engagement. It's not "dialogue" with the regime; that's a waste of time. What is needed is "strategic engagement with civil society and potentially reformist elements within the state bureaucracy and even within the military's command structure".

"It is this type of strategic and targeted engagement that will lead to the gradual emergence of alternative centres of power -- economic, societal, intellectual, and eventually political -- which will change the political regime and the state it runs."

The idea is to see that humanitarian assistance is "put at the disposal of local communities and their allied international organisations", and let them chip away at the controlling power of the military regime, "patiently, strategically and under the radar".

"For aid in this context potentially serves as a counter to the callous generals' attempt to keep people malnourished, impoverished and downtrodden. The regime doesn't need a healthy and vibrant people, only their acquiescence, but long-term freedom struggle needs the people to remain healthy in spirit and body."

It's interesting to note that the Obama administration seems to be considering a shift in policy; it is ironic that about the only place in the world where the Bush administration was in sync with the rest of the world was on Myanmar, in maintaining sanctions. But, as usual, the Bush administration was wrong. The policy achieved nothing. UN and Asean emissaries came and went, achieving nothing. Usually they weren't even allowed to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi .

Why hasn't she been more successful? Isn't she the perfect parallel to Nelson Mandela? Well, he had someone -- eventually -- to talk to: the South African president with whom he came to share a Nobel. "The Lady", as she is somewhat derisively referred to in diplomatic circles, is sometimes not considered to have what it takes to lead her fractured country.

International pressure perhaps ensures that an "accident" doesn't befall her, but not much more. But what's the alternative? Icons are not warriors, but her patience and dignity in the face of overwhelming force, and now a farcical trial, will surely win in the end.

Idiot regimes just don't last forever.

The writer was emeritus professor at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University

READ MORE---> In the end, the Lady will surely win...

Myanmar junta wants to 'speed up' Suu Kyi trial

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar's ruling junta is apparently rushing the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, a party spokesman said as police told the court how they arrested a US man who swam to the democracy icon's home.

The claim came as Asian neighbours finally joined the west in condemning the charges against the 63-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, who faces up to five years in jail if convicted of violating her house arrest.

Five witnesses gave evidence Tuesday to the closed-door trial at the notorious Insein prison, including four police officers who said they had arrested American John Yettaw after he spent two days at her lakeside house.

"It indicates that they are trying to finish as soon as possible" by calling many witnesses, Nyan Win, the spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, told reporters.

"If it continues like this, we guess it can be finished by next week."

Myanmar's military regime will allow some reporters from foreign and local news organisations to cover the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, officials said Wednesday.

"Ten journalists will go this afternoon to get the news from the trial," a Myanmar official told AFP on the morning of the third day, without explaining the apparent change of policy.

The regime's change of heart comes amid intensifying international criticism of the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nyan Win said the prosecution was expected to call 22 witnesses, all but one of them policemen. The senior officer who filed the original complaint against Aung San Suu Kyi testified on Monday.

Critics say the military regime has trumped up the charges to keep Aung San Suu Kyi locked up during elections due next year, and also to beat a May 27 deadline when her latest six-year period of detention expires.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention, most of them under house arrest at the residence which Yettaw visited using a pair of homemade flippers. His family have described the visit as well intentioned.

Yettaw, a former army veteran who was held on May 6, and two female political aides who live with Aung San Suu Kyi are also on trial at the jail near Yangon.

"The witnesses described the situation when they arrested him. They said they watched him as he swam and at first they thought he was a thief," Nyan Win said, recounting the testimony by the four policemen on Tuesday.

"But they said that they knew as soon as he came to the bank of the lake that he was a foreigner. Then they took him to special branch," said Nyan Win, who was allowed to be in the court as part of Aung San Suu Kyi's legal team.

Around 100 party members gathered outside the prison on Tuesday, including Win Tin, formerly Myanmar's longest serving political prisoner, while riot police manned a tight security cordon, witnesses said.

The trial has led to international appeals for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar's partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- which rarely criticises the junta -- have finally joined in.

A statement issued late Monday by Thailand, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the bloc, expressed "grave concern about recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, given her fragile health."

But Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ruled out imposing sanctions as most western countries have done, saying he hoped Myanmar "will consider ASEAN as friends."

US President Barack Obama formally renewed sanctions against Myanmar -- which Washington calls by its former name of Burma -- on Friday while EU nations on Monday said they were mulling fresh sanctions against the ruling junta.

Myanmar's tightly controlled state media reported on the trial for the first time, giving a rare mention of the imprisoned activist, who is still seen as the junta's most powerful foe.

The military regime refused to recognise the NLD's landslide victory in the last elections to be held in Myanmar in 1990. It has ruled Myanmar since 1962.

Critics say next year's elections are a sham as they will be held under a new constitution, voted for just days after Cyclone Nargis hit the country in May 2008, which gives the army a role in any government.

READ MORE---> Myanmar junta wants to 'speed up' Suu Kyi trial...

Secret trial

Editorial Desk
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippine foreign affairs secretary Alberto Romulo eloquently—and uncharacteristically forcefully—condemned the trial behind closed doors of Burma’s democratic icon, Aung Saan Suu Kyi. He said the government is “deeply troubled and outraged” over the “trumped-up charges” against Suu Kyi and, for once, his statements reflect public opinion.

The circumstances surrounding her transfer from house arrest to outright detention in the Insein Prison, where 2,000 political prisoners languish, are curious, to say the least. A mysterious American, John William Rettaw, is said to have swam across a lake fronting Suu Kyi’s house, then insisted on remaining in her house and was caught when he tried to swim back the next day.

In a closed-door trial conducted by the ruling junta, Suu Kyi has been charged with violating Section 22 of Burma’s Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements.

The sudden detention and trial of Suu Kyi have to be put in the context of the junta’s desire to remain in power. Back in 1990, the junta lost the elections and responded by nullifying the polls and throwing in jail the candidates of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy who were elected by the people. Suu Kyi herself has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.

Despite its monopoly on power, the junta has been unable to gain public support or legitimacy. In 2007, Burmese monks led public protests against government economic policies, which led to a massive crackdown by the junta. The junta had announced elections in 2010—after a hiatus of 19 years—but observers widely expect the junta to lose the elections if they’re held freely or fairly.

The house arrest of Suu Kyi was due to expire on the 27th of this month; there would have been public pressure for the junta to release her as a sign of good faith for the forthcoming polls. But now, the junta has a ready pretext for extending Suu Kyi’s detention—and even to impose harsher forms of detention.

The Times of London quoted Kyi Win, who is Suu Kyi’s lawyer, as saying “Everyone is very angry with this wretched American,” and that “He is the cause of all these problems. He’s a fool.” The closed-door trial comes at the heels of news that last week, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been put on an IV drip, reportedly after showing signs of dehydration and “difficulty in swallowing food”.

It would certainly be very convenient if the Burmese opposition leader were to suddenly experience a fatal or permanently crippling medical “incident” while under official custody. But aside from fearing the occupational hazards of detention in junta hands, the essential point—and cause for international outrage—was expressed by Romulo when he described the Burmese government’s charges as “trumped-up”.

Burma has to either pursue the difficult road to democratisation, or it can withdraw into the Hermit Kingdom status the junta prefers. Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, the arguments of the junta’s apologists—that foreign condemnation, including sanctions, to push forward democratisation is counter-productive—it would be equally counter-productive for the junta to pursue heavy-handed methods concerning its critics.

The Philippine government has appealed to Burma’s junta to conduct the trial in open court, and swiftly. This is under the wholesome principle, to which our own government officially adheres to, that justice delayed is justice denied. And while foreign observers seem rather shocked (though pleasantly so) that the Philippines bucked the Asean trend of refraining from criticising fellow member-states, the truth is that our country’s official position is in keeping with broader trends within the Asean.

Those trends include promoting the rule of law and the adoption of more transparent methods of justice in member-states. We can only hope that having figured out finally that Asean goodwill and solidarity need not come at the expense of human rights, our government will continue to apply diplomatic pressure on the junta.

READ MORE---> Secret trial...

Burmese gov't deploys troops to Rangoon, anticipates uprising

By Linda Mottram
Radio Australia

Hundreds of supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly continue to gather near Rangoon's notorious Insein prison.

Burma's democracy leader is being held and tried behind closed doors on what are widely considered to be trumped up charges of breaching the conditions of her detention.

Speculation is simmering that another uprising may be brewing, though there are strong memories of past brutal suppression by the generals, in 1988 and more recently in September 2007 when monks led protests over rising prices and economic hardship.

Burma's general's are taking no security risks on this occasion.

There are reports of large numbers of soldiers deployed around Rangoon's Shwedagon Pagoda, where Ms Suu Kyi's supporters are holding a vigil for the Nobel Peace laureate.

Burma democracy supporters in Australia say there is widespread anger and the possibility of a new mass movement, as Ms Suu Kyi, 63, and recently in poor health, faces an almost certain extension of her detention.

The charges were laid after an American citizen swam across Lake Inya to Ms Suu Kyi's home and stayed against her will for two nights.

Uprising on the cards

Maung Maun Than from the Sydney-based Australian Coalition for Democracy in Burma says the Burmese people are outraged at Ms Suu Kyi's treatment.

"People are really angry and you can see hundreds of people gather outside the Insein prison," he said.

"And some monks who led the uprising two years ago, they are also coming up again and they are gathering around the Insein prison.

"So there's the possibility of having another mass movement," he says.

Former Australian Ambassador to Burma (2000-2003), Trevor Wilson, told Radio Australia it is becoming more difficult for the generals to contain public sentiment, though they're not relinquishing any control.

"The situation is still very much under tight police state control by the authorities and they are very watchful for any sign of protest or public activity particularly on the streets or meeting places," he said.

"Even if they turn off the internet, even if they block news broadcasts coming into the country, people are reacting very strongly when the regime does things like this and sometimes the public, members of the public don't particularly care about the consequences for themselves personally."

International political leaders and observers of Burma are convinced the recent bizarre incident merely presented the generals with a convenient opportunity to try to cloak further detention for Ms Suu Kyi in a veil of legality, ahead of elections planned for 2010.

United Nations legal experts have said that Ms Suu Kyi's house arrest is illegal under Burmese law, which says a detainee my be freed of put on trial after five consecutive years of detention.

Ms Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the past 19 years in detention and was denied power by the generals after a decisive election win in 1990 by Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

Her current term of house arrest is due to expire on 27 May 2009.

READ MORE---> Burmese gov't deploys troops to Rangoon, anticipates uprising...

The KPF prepares to become Border Guard Force in Three Pagodas Pass

By Rai Maraoh, IMNA

With direct support from the Burmese army, the Karen Peace Force is transitioning to the Border Guard Force in 6 months.

The Karen Peace Force (KPF) is currently preparing for its reassignment as the Border Guard Force (BGF) along the Thai – Burma border in Three Pagoda Pass (TPP), according sources close with KPF groups.

“They (KPF) are arranging to build a new battalion head quarters along the Three Pagodas Pass border, and will receive additional army training from the Burmese forces, depending on what positions soldiers will fill. The Burmese government has given them 6 months to prepare for becoming the BGF. At the moment the KPF do not have specific orders in the township” said a TPP resident, who had spoke with a KPF officer. The soldiers will also receive full material support from the government, including weapons and ammunition.

KPF split from the Karen National Union ( KNU) in 1997 and the same year surrendered to Burmese government.

Currently, there are 500 KPF soldiers, and the formation of a new battalion for the BGF will use about 326 soldiers. However, an SPDC force of 30 Burmese soldiers will augment every battalion, the KPF officer was heard to have said.

“In Three Pagodas Pass, KPF Battalion 3 is preparing to become the border guard,” said a source from the KPF, “They (KPF) demolished their old battalion headquarters, and currently live at the Burmese base as they arrange to build a new battalion headquarters on the border.”

The KPF border guard armies are from the townships of Kyaikdon Battalion no 2, Kyainnseikyi Battalion no 1 and Three Pagoda Pass Battalion no 3.

“Now, the KPF is trying to recruit new members to fill the need for soldier in the border guard force.,” added the source from the KPF ,“They’re trying to organize villagers where they plan on basing their new headquarters. The KPF does not have many soldiers since they split from the KNU.“ According to a Kaowao news article published on May 9, KPF groups met with officer Naypyi Daw and the Southeast Commander, That Naing Win, in Naypyidaw on March 30th, to hold talks about their possible transition to a border guard force.

READ MORE---> The KPF prepares to become Border Guard Force in Three Pagodas Pass...

Divergent views on extension of U.S. sanctions

by Nem Davies

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Divergent views have emerged among Burmese analysts regarding the extension of U.S. sanctions against military-ruled Burma.

Some welcomed the extension of sanctions by the U.S. even as the U.S. and E.U. said they are reviewing their sanctions policies vis-à-vis Burma. However, those who welcomed the extension said that the U.S. should do it in a more effective way so as to maximize the impact on the junta. But others viewed the extension of sanctions as an unnecessary action.

"The sanctions should financially impact the top brass of the junta who are siphoning off public money into their pockets. Also, the sanctions should close the outflow of natural resources at any cost, as they are being misused to perpetuate the junta's power," said Dr. Maung Zarni, who once led the exile-based campaign group Free Burma Coalition.

Additionally, an economist based in Rangoon, speaking on condition of anonymity, welcomed the extension of sanctions by the U.S. and said they could to some extent impact the country's military leaders and their business ventures.

"The U.S. did what it thought should be done. They must do it. I think it is effective. It can create an impact on the top brass. That is why they [junta] frequently say not to impose sanctions on them," he reasoned.

"For instance, some business ventures cannot afford a power failure even for a minute. Computer related businesses cannot be conducted in Burma. Lack of regular power supply in Burma poses a lot of trouble and causes businesses to suffer a lot," explained the economist.

However, he cautioned that for sanctions to become really effective, the cooperation of neighboring countries such as Thailand, China and India is needed.

In response to the brutal crackdown on September 2007's Saffron Revolution which left at least 30 people dead, the U.S. enacted the Junta Anti-Democratic Effort (JADE) Act in July 2008.

The law bans the import of Burmese gems and natural gas to the U.S., coming into force on September 27, 2008.

Yet, despite a myriad of sanctions leveled against Burma by the U.S. and other countries, companies such as French owned TOTAL and U.S.-based Chevrolet are still operating business ventures in Burma.

TOTAL is drilling oil and gas in southern Burma earning the regime USD 200 to 450 million annually, according to Burma Campaign UK.

Since U.S. sanctions can achieve limited success as currently enforced, these companies which provide regular income to the junta should be completely withdrawn from Burma, Dr. Maung Zarni argued.

"Despite the withdrawal of other companies from Burma, why are they letting these two companies, TOTAL and Chevrolet, which are providing big revenue to the junta, continue their businesses in Burma," he asked.

On the other hand, some domestic organizations said that the withdrawal of investment by these companies would have little impact on the junta, instead affecting ordinary people by increasing unemployment. So, they argue, sanctions in general should be rolled back.

"I see sanctions as inhuman on humanitarian grounds. I don't like using sanctions as a tool for regime change. The promotion of constructive engagement is badly needed," Aung Khaing Win, a member of an anti-sanctions group said.

The decision of the U.S. to extend sanctions against Burma for another year cannot help the transition to democracy in Burma, Aye Lwin, a leader of the organization 88 Generation Student Group (Myanmar), said.

"It is just a show of standing behind Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD," he prospered.

READ MORE---> Divergent views on extension of U.S. sanctions...

Canal dam breaks, flooding villages

by May Kyaw

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The left canal of Kinda dam in Myitha Township, Mandalay Division, cracked on the 16th of May, inundating 12 villages.

Incessant heavy rainfall is thought responsible for the collapse.

Following the break, four-foot high water cut off communication to the villages and damaged roads. Only after three days of the incident, was relief work able to commence.

People in Myitha have started providing relief materials such as food parcels and rice, but the exact amount of damage caused by the dam breaking has not been ascertained.

"We have started sending rice bags today but they have not yet reached the flooded villages. We are sending these rice bags via three-hand tractor trailers. Some villages are accessible but some as yet are not," a local resident told Mizzima.

On the same day a pond used by villagers from Nyaungbin village, in Nahtogyi Township near Myitha, overflowed its banks.

The overflowing of the pond flooded some villages in Nahtogyi Township and damaged roads in the area, preventing any relief efforts to date.

The left Kinda dam canal, which became operational in 1985, is a major hydroelectric, multi-purpose canal.

READ MORE---> Canal dam breaks, flooding villages...

Commander: No more selling of land to Wa

By Hseng Khio Fah
Shanland News

According to an order from Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command Commander Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, people in Mongton Township, eastern Shan State, north of the Chiangmai border, are from now on banned from selling their land to the Wa settlers, according to border sources.

Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe

On 3 May, Kyaw Phyoe ordered Pongpakhem, a sub-township of Mongton, to inform the local people that no one would be allowed to sell their land to the Wa and that people who fail to abide by the order would be punished and their lands confiscated by the Burma Army.

“Don’t sell your land to the Wa anymore,” a villager quoted one of the land surveyors as saying.

According to Wa authorities, about 80,000 Wa villagers from the Sino-Burma border have been resettled along the Thai-Burma border.

In addition, the commander also assigned officials to measure the area of each person’s house plus compound and order them to apply for title deeds, said another villager.

Pongpakhem Area Commander and land surveyors from Mongton went to Hwe Aw, where the UWSA’s 171st Military Region is headquartered on the same day.

Each household has to pay Kyat 12,000 for the deed. For the Wa, it is Baht 7,000.
There are over 100 households in Hwe Aw, under the control of the Burma Army.

On 16 May, Kyaw Phyoe came to inspect whether the assignment had been accomplished, along with officials from several government departments like Education, Health, Forestry, land-surveys and road engineers in 17 trucks (7 four-wheelers, and 10 six-wheelers), said a source.

“We can’t help you anymore, if the Wa come to take your land. You need to make title deeds to prevent it,” another villager quoted the commander as saying.

The work in Hwe Aw has been completed and officials are reportedly moving to Pongpakhem and other villages to continue their issuing of title deeds, said a source.

READ MORE---> Commander: No more selling of land to Wa...

Villagers panic in Maungdaw South

Maungdaw, Arakan State (KPN): Villagers of Maungdaw South are panic-stricken regarding Nasaka’s (Burma’s border security force) harassment as three video-rooms of Natala villagers were burnt down on May 18 night by unknown miscreants, said a local businessman on condition of anonymity.

The villagers are from Nurula Para, Baggona and Gudusara of nearby Maungdaw town. At about 11 pm, three of Natala’s video-room was set on fire by unknown miscreants. They were located in the village under the Nasaka area No. 7 of Maungdaw Township.

The following day, a group of Nasaka personnel went to the spot and took photographs of the burnt video rooms and returned to their camp.

Rohingya villagers said they are frightened of Nasaka’s arrest, torture and extortion on the accusation of setting the video room on fire, the local businessman added.

So far, no one is arrested regarding the incident, but, villagers believe that they will be arrested soon for extortion and unnecessary harassment of the Rohingya villagers to force them to leave their villages such as in Balukhali village on April 22 of Maungdaw Township, said a local trader who declined to be named.

The authorities of Nasaka, army, police, Sarapa (Military Intelligence), TPDC (Township Peace and Development Council) and DPDC (District Peace and Development Council) have been adopting a new tactic recently that is to create problems between Rohingya villagers and the authorities, which lead Rohingya villagers to flee their villages.

It will be similar to the incident in Than Ganet village of Buthidaung Township, and the incident in Balukhali village of Maungdaw Township, said a schoolteacher from the village.

Most of the Natala villagers in Maungdaw Township, don’t like to stay in their remote Natala villages, so they are transferred to Maungdaw-Aley Than Kyaw Road in tents by the road-side with the cooperation of the local Nasaka authorities. Afterward, they set up small market, bars, video rooms and gambling dens. They also run prostitution dens for local youths, said an elderly man from Maungdaw town.

One of the village elders said they wont dare to set fire to Natala villagers’ video rooms because for fear of the authorities. Villagers said that the arson was deliberately done by the authorities to extort money and force villagers to flee.

READ MORE---> Villagers panic in Maungdaw South...

Students paste "free Suu Kyi posters" in Kachin State

Written by KNG

After a lull of several months, students in Burma's northern Kachin State have become active yet again against the Burmese ruling junta. They have demanded the immediate release of democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from Insein Prison. The students pasted 50 hand-written posters in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State this morning, said student activists.

The student activist leader Shadang Naw Awng, who is behind this morning's poster movement said, the A-4 sized papers had two slogans ---"Free Aung San Suu Kyi immediately" and "Against 2010 elections". The posters were put up in six major quarters in Myitkyina--- Du Kahtawng, Yan Gyi Aung, Yuzana, Myothit, Aung Nan and Ayeyar.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader

Shadang Naw Awng told KNG, "We mainly pasted the posters on government buildings at road junctions and corners, on electric poles and on the walls in front of some government buildings.

We also put up posters on the wall in front of the Office of the Director of Township Education in Aung Nan quarter."

An eyewitness said the town’s military authorities did not remove the posters till noon.

The poster movement was organized by All Kachin Students' Union (AKSU), the underground student organization in Kachin State which was formed just before the September 2007 Saffron Revolution.

Aung San Suu Kyi, general secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize was transferred to Insein Prison in Rangoon on May 14 from her home where she had been under house-arrest.

The junta started a closed-door trial of Mrs. Suu Kyi on Monday in the Insein Prison. She has been charged for violating the terms of her house arrest and could face a prison sentence of up to five years, her lawyers have said.

She has been charged in connection with an American John William Yettaw’s arrest last week for allegedly swimming across Innya Lake and entering Suu Kyi's home and staying there for two days.

The 63-year-old pro-democracy leader has been detained for more than 13 of the past 19 years. Her latest house arrest is officially due to end on May 27 after six years.

Meanwhile, the US, EU and ASEAN expressed deep concern over Suu Kyi's arrest but China said on Tuesday it would not interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbour.

On the flip side, the junta is pressurizing all ethnic ceasefire groups in the country to transform to battalions of border security forces under the junta's control before the general elections next year.

READ MORE---> Students paste "free Suu Kyi posters" in Kachin State...

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