Saturday, June 6, 2009

Suu Kyi party warned over trial criticism: media

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar authorities have summoned members of Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party to rebuke them for provoking "unrest" over a statement critical of her trial, state media reported Saturday.

Four senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) met officials for 30 minutes late Friday after comments by the party's youth wing were leaked to the website of a prominent blogger, the New Light of Myanmar said.

"Though NLD has rights for freedom of speech, the announcement... has harmed peace and stability and prevalence of law and order in the country and disturbed the trial proceedings of a court," the paper reported in English.

"That can mislead the people into misunderstanding the government, incite activities that may harm the public respect for the government, and cause unrest," it said.

Aung San Suu Kyi faces up to five years in jail on charges of breaching the conditions of her house arrest after a bizarre incident in which an American man, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside home in May.

The NLD's youth members had circulated an internal document criticising the trial for being held mostly behind closed doors and highlighted international condemnation of the proceedings.

But the comments ended up on the "Niknayman" website, which is blocked in Myanmar as it is run by a well-known activist, and the New Light said their publication constituted a breach of the country's publishing laws.

The paper said the statement had falsely accused authorities of not allowing public reporting of the trial.

Local journalists and two Chinese reporters have been allowed in court along with diplomats to cover two of the 10 days of hearings being held inside Yangon's Insein prison, so far.

The four NLD members ordered to meet officials Friday were Than Tun, Nyunt Wai, Hla Pe and Soe Myint. They signed a document to acknowledge a formal warning by the authorities.

On Friday Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers presented appeal documents to a Yangon divisional court, asking the court to overturn a ban on three of four witnesses whom she called to give evidence at her trial.

A judge said a decision on the appeal would be given on Tuesday, June 9, three days before her prison trial reconvenes after a week-long adjournment.

US President Barack Obama has described the court proceedings as a "show trial" while Myanmar's usually reticent Asian neighbours have expressed strong concerns.

Japan's deputy minister for foreign affairs, Kenichiro Sasae, urged Myanmar's junta to listen to the concerns during his trip on Thursday and Friday to the capital Naypyidaw, the Japanese ministry said.

The Myanmar side replied that the government could not interfere in the trial, it added.

Sasae also said Tokyo hopes Myanmar will go ahead with establishing a democracy in line with international expectations, the ministry statement said.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. Aung San Suu Kyi's party won 1990 polls but was never allowed to take office. She has been imprisoned for 13 of the past 19 years.

Elections are planned for next year but critics say they are designed only to entrench the military's power.

READ MORE---> Suu Kyi party warned over trial criticism: media...

Pelosi says China stalling on human rights

(Bangkok Post-AFP) -US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that she saw no progress in China on human rights, regretting that neither economic reforms nor US pressure were making Beijing budge.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives in D.C. for a "Remembrance and Reconciliation" rally marking the 20th anniversary of protests in Tiananmen Square in June 2009. Pelosi said that she saw no progress in China on human rights, regretting that neither economic reforms nor US pressure were making Beijing budge.

Pelosi, a long-time human rights advocate who visited China last week, deplored that Beijing was still holding prisoners for taking part in the Tiananmen Square democracy protests crushed 20 years ago this week.

"Twenty years later people are still being incarcerated for speaking out about anything other than the party line," Pelosi said. "I don't know that this is an evolution."

"I know that just our advocacy didn't accomplish any freedom in China. So somehow or other we have to find a way to do that," she told the Brookings Institution think-tank.

Pelosi said she praised China's leadership in her meetings for lifting millions out of poverty, calling it a "remarkable" achievement.

"The problem I have is that -- people say, 'Well, look at Taiwan, look at (South) Korea, different places' -- economic reform leads to political reform," she said.

"What I see in China is that economic reform is being used to suppress the political reform -- 'You have a job, okay, I'm happy.' So it isn't the natural peaceful evolution, which they will never subscribe to," she said.

Pelosi rejected perceptions that she had softened her stance on her recent trip.

She said she was able to raise human rights concerns at the highest level as House speaker, the third-highest leader under the US Constitution. She said she directly petitioned President Hu Jintao to free jailed rights activists.

Pelosi said she had no regrets about infuriating Beijing's leaders in 1991 by unfurling a banner in Tiananmen Square in tribute "to those who died for democracy in China."

"It isn't that my view has changed so much as my role has changed," Pelosi said. "This is a relentless pursuit of mine."

READ MORE---> Pelosi says China stalling on human rights...

Fines and torture for medical workers after they treated insurgents

Rehmonnya, June 3, 2009

HURFOM: After treating insurgents, a village medical field worker and his two assistants, from Yebyu township, were forced to pay a fee of 900,000 Kyat to the local battalion commander. But because of corruption, the two assistants were tortured and beaten anyway.

te in April the local field medical worker, Nai Neing Min, was brought by his two assistants, Nai Kyi and Nai Nyeing (who are 31 years old and 30 years old, respectively), to a rebel camp to treat insurgents. Nai Neing Min, and his two assistants were then forced to pay a total of 900,000 kyat by Light Infantry Batallion (LIB) No.273’s battalion commander, Thein Zaw, who is based in MaMuu village, Yebyu Township. The payment was arranged through the MaMuu village headman Nai Khon Ba.

However the headman did not deliver the full 900,000 kyat to the LIB No.273 battalion commander. Instead he delivered 600,00 kyat, and kept 300,000 kyat for himself.

“Because of the village headman, we are facing problems,” a source close to Nai Neing Min reported him saying “We already gave 900,000 kyat for the battalion commander, but he [the headman] didn’t gave all money to the battalion.”

The village headman was corrupt and because he took a portion of the fee, the battalion’s commander Thein Zaw got angry with Nai Neing Min, and the two assistants. Therefore, the medical field worker was intimidated and the two assistants were arrested and tortured by the LIB No. 273 for information about insurgent group Nai Chan Dein’s activities.

Sources close to the medical field worker, Nai Neing Min, reported him as saying, “The Battalion’s commander decided to demand 900,000 kyat because he found out about the treatment of the insurgent group. We gave the 900,000 kyat to the village headman to give to LIB No.273’s battalion commander however, the village headman [Nai Khon Ba] only paied 600,000 kyat to the battalion’s commander, and kept the rest of the 300,000 kyat for himself. The battalion commander [Thein Zaw] got angry and demanded that troops arrest Nai Kyi and Nai Nyeing [assistants] on Thursday, April 30th, and tied them up, beat them and rolled bamboo sticks on their shins”

“The commander called me to the Pharpon village and intimidated me about the assistance to the insurgent groups, The battalion’s commander, Thein Zaw, said, ‘If the high officer knows about us taxing money from you, you will get in trouble.” The source added.

After arriving back in the village, Nai Neing Min heard that his assistants had been arrested, tied, beaten and tortured by solders from LIB No. 273 for information about how to find the rebel group. He was afraid and fled to Kalay village.

In Yebyu Township, which is a main area for the insurgent group activities, LIB No.273 arrests and tortures people whom they suspect of communicating with the insurgent groups [Nai Chang Deing groups and Nai Ah Bim groups]. Many people have left their homes and run to neighboring villages to find a safe place for themselves.

Villager, Ah Zan, who fled from MaMuu village to Kalay village said, “ My younger brother and I decided to leave our family and move to Kalay village. We walked day and night on the jungle road to arrive at the village [Kalay village]. Throughout the trip we had to worry either that the Burmese soldiers or the rebel groups would see us. If they see the people traveling, they will arrest them and claim they are from the other side.”

This situation demonstrates that the residents have been facing many problems in the area, because they are accused of either helping support rebel group or the SPDC.

Please note, the editor has changed all names of persons involved for their own security other then the township and the battalion commander.

READ MORE---> Fines and torture for medical workers after they treated insurgents...

Burmese Army prevents farmers from going to their farms, then steals from them

June 5, 2009

HURFOM (Rehmonnya): The Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 282 commander Nyi Nyi Soe warned villagers of insurgent group activity and wouldn’t allow farmers to return to their land.

Meanwhile, the troops reportedly stole food and cooking gear from the farms in Kaleinaung Sub - Township, Yebyu Township. Having also slaughtered some of the animals, they then tried selling their seized goods in the market.

According to the Alaesakhan villager, Ma Pher, “The troops stole betel nuts and cashews from our farms and sold them in the market. In addition, they also killed and cooked our farm animals (including chickens and ducks). The soldiers took all of our kitchen equipment to use in their camps.”

“Even though we know the soldiers are stealing our products and killing our animals, we can do and say nothing to them,” Ma Pher continued.

Villagers in the area, for fear of violence and torture, reported to HURFOM that they often feel forced to do whatever the military troops command of them.

According to another Alaesakhan villager, the soldiers initially posed as sawyers and ordinary villagers to gather information about Chan Dein insurgent group activities. When they heard something that interested them, they reported back to LIB 282. At that time, battalion commander Nyi Nyi Soe ordered the farmers not to go to their farms.

One member of the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) said, “When Nyi Nyi Soe arrived into the village, he allowed his soldiers to kill the villagers’ farm animals such as pigs, chickens and ducks.

The VPDC member added that, even after the troops had stolen all they wanted from the farms, “he also forced villagers to pay for the [soldiers’] rations of oil, rice, salt”

READ MORE---> Burmese Army prevents farmers from going to their farms, then steals from them...

NMSP member killed near SPDC’s Southeast Command Headquarters

Kaowao, Taingtaw
April 21, 2009

For the first time since reaching the ceasefire agreement in 1995, a young and educated New Mon State Party member who was in charge of the Mon Relief and Development Committee, was shot and killed near the SPDC Southeast Command, says a party source quoting the SPDC police officer in charge of investigating the murder.

Nai Minn Naung, 40-years-old, known as a committed Mon soldier was killed with gunshot wound to his back by 9 mm pistol while driving on the high way in Mon State, near to the SPDC‘s Southeast Command and the Government Technical College (GTC) on April 18th, said the party senior leader, Nai Shwe Thein.

Dr. Nai Minn Naung (BVS) had withdrawn funds from a bank in the capital of Mon State, Moulmein to buy rations for the New Mon State Party business affairs when he was shot by an unidentified gunmen, he was found with a roll of 8 million Kyat notes, the Burmese currency, Thein said quoting the police, “They are now investigating the case and cannot determine the motive.”

The carrying of firearms is reserved for the top leaders of NMSP, but are prohibited for the regular members due to security reasons in the urban area. However, other ethnic ceasefire groups’ members such as Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) allied with the SPDC are given the right to hold guns in Mon and Karen States, say the local people from Mon State.

Some senior leaders of the party such as the present Secretary General Nai Hongsar have never visited the area under the control of SPDC for fear of being assassinated even though the two parties reached a ceasefire. Tension between the NMSP and SPDC has reached the boiling point after the party refused to be involved in the upcoming election sponsored by SPDC who continue to show signs of holding onto power at all costs.

Nai Minn Naung (Nai Ai Rot) was elected as a District Committee member at the Party Congress in January 2009. He is survived by his spouse Mi Soe Mon, son Mehm Ong Pon and daughter Mi Mrok Pon.

READ MORE---> NMSP member killed near SPDC’s Southeast Command Headquarters...

Bomb blast while Lieutenant –General Ye Myint visits Mawlamyine

By Kaowao
May 29, 2009

Mawlamyine (May-29) While visiting Mawlamyine to transform the ethnic cease-fire group and splinter group into a Border Guard Force the military government Lieutenant General Ye Myint from Naypyitaw witnessed multiple bomb blasts. While Lieutenant-General Ye Myint was in the city, at 10-AM local time a bomb blast occurred close to the strand road in Shwe Taung quarter and another bomb blasted near Mawlamyine jail and at the evening one more bomb blasted again near the Mon State Bureau of Special Investigation or BSI, local military security said.

Because of those blasts, Southeast Command Lieutenant-Colonel Myo Myint, a son in-law of the Mining Minister General Own Myint, may be blamed by the regime, guessed by some military officer in Mawlamyine.

Military security force commander in-chief Lieutenant-General Ye Myint was asked to reform the institution of the Karen splinter and Mon splinter armed groups into Border guard force, a Karin Peace Force officer said.

Lieutenant-General Ye Myint had no schedule to meet to the New Mon State Party thus, NMSP Malamyine liaison officer said, “I deduce that Lieutenant-General Ye Myint will not see the NMSP leader”.

In the first week of March, the Executive Committee (EC) of NMSP president Nai Htaw Mon, Vice President Nai Rot Sa, Joint Secretary Nai Chan Toi, EC members Nai Htar Wa Ra and Nai Ta La Nyi met Military security force commander in-chief Lieutenant-General Ye Myint . NMSP leaders stated, “our 7th congress decided that NMSP will not accept the policies of Border guard force.”

Due to bomb explosions, military security forces were doing more thorough investigations to travelers at the entrances of the town gates and check-points, investigating all guests in every house and threatening the strangers all corners.

READ MORE---> Bomb blast while Lieutenant –General Ye Myint visits Mawlamyine...

NLD Accused of Violating Electronics Act

The Irrawaddy News

Members of Burma’s main opposition party have been warned that they could be charged with violating the country’s infamous electronics act for publishing a statement about the trial of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi online, Burma’s state-run media reported on Saturday.

According to a report in The New Light of Myanmar, youth members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were told that posting a party statement about Suu Kyi’s trial on the Internet constituted a violation of Electronic Act 33 (A).

The law, which forbids unauthorized use of electronic media, was used against many pro-democracy dissidents in trials held at Insein Prison late last year, resulting in lengthy prison sentences for critics of the ruling regime’s crackdown on monks in 2007 and its response to Cyclone Nargis last May.

The report also suggested that the youth members may have broken other draconian censorship laws by posting the statement on the blog on June 3.

“Without seeking permission for publication, the announcement has reached the public. Therefore the announcement is against the printing and publishing registration law,” the newspaper reported.

However, the NLD youth members denied that they intended to post the statement on the blog, which is run by a Burmese exile. They said that it was merely being circulated among members of the party.

In the statement, the NLD youth members said they were saddened by the junta’s failure to respond to international calls for the unconditional release of Suu Kyi, and expressed doubts about the legality of her trial. They pointed out that the trial is being carried out under provisions of the 1974 constitution, which was abolished when the current regime seized power in 1988.

“The act of saying that the 1974 constitution has been dissolved without showing any firm proof is a lawless act,” the report in The New Light of Myanmar claimed.

The report also said that NLD central executive committee members would be held responsible for the actions of the party’s youth members because they had authorized the online publication of the statement.

The authorities warned the CEC members yesterday that the statement “harmed peace and stability and prevalence of law and order in the country and disturbed the trial proceedings of a court.”

According to The New Light of Myanmar, the NLD leaders were instructed to sign a statement showing that they had been warned about the situation. However, NLD spokesperson Han Thar Myint said that the NLD leaders refused to sign anything.

READ MORE---> NLD Accused of Violating Electronics Act...

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