Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Aung San Suu Kyi

The NLD on Wednesday reiterated its call to the junta to release party leader Aung San Suu Kyi and to kick-start a political dialogue for national reconciliation.

The NLD made the call in its eight-page statement issued at the end of the 19th anniversary commemorative ceremony of Burma’s last election held at the party head office in Rangoon’s Shwegondine Street in Bahan Township.The Rangoon North District court sitting inside special court in Insein Prison is appointed by Burma Janta on trial for Noble Laureate and democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday rejected three witnesses submitted by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, leaving just one remaining defense witness.

Nyan Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, told Mizzima that a judge of the special court on Wednesday announced the rejection of three witnesses – Win Tin, Tin Oo and Khin Moe Moe – accepting just Kyi Win as a defense witness.

“There is nothing much I can say. The facts speak for themselves. The prosecution had fifteen witnesses examined and we are left only with one,” Nyan Win said.

On Wednesday, the court heard the testimony of Aung San Suu Kyi’s live-in party members Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, in addition to American Yettaw.

Nyan Win said the court has fixed the next hearing for 10 a.m. (local time) Tuesday but he is not sure whether there will be any examination of the defense witness.

“I think a verdict might be possible by Friday,” said Nyan Win, adding that authorities are in a hurry to get the case over with.

“But we are determined to fight the case in a higher court if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced,” he added.U.S. President Barack Obama asked Burma's military government to free Democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from detention immediately and without conditions.A statement issued by the White House Tuesday, Mr. Obama condemned her continued house arrest. He said her current trial on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest is a "show trial based on spurious charges."

Aung San Suu Kyi acknowledged during trial on Tuesday that she did not inform Burmese military authorities when an American intruder swam across a lake to be with her Rangoon home in the early morning hours of May 4.She said she allowed American John Yettaw "temporary shelter" until he left the next day for such incident prompted military authorities to charge her with violating terms of her house arrest.In court, the Nobel Peace laureate asserted her innocence.Critics say Burma's military leaders are using the trial as a pretext to keep the opposition leader under detention so she cannot participate in next year's elections. Asian and European Union foreign ministers meeting in Vietnam issued a joint statement Tuesday that mentioned Aung San Suu Kyi. The ministers wrote that, in light of her trial, they are calling for the early release of all those under detention in Burma and for the lifting of government restrictions on political parties.

Several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, have expressed grave concern about Aung San Suu Kyi's trial. A group of ASEAN lawmakers called for Burma's membership in the regional bloc to be suspended if she continues to be detained.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace Reconciliation to San Suu Kyi

Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been named recipient of Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation.

The award, which will be awarded at a ceremony to be held in Durban, South Africa on July 20, is given to those who inspire young people to make a commitment to non-violence, forgiveness and reconciliation by South Africa’s Gandhi Development Trust.

The award was inaugurated in 2003 to mark the centenary of the Indian Opinion, a newspaper published by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa.

UN Security Council concern on Suu Kyi’s trial

Aung San Suu Kyi is currently facing imprisonment and trial in Burma. She was arrested last week and is now being held in Insein Prison, a prison notorious for its terrible conditions and horrific treatment of prisoners. Political prisoners in Burma are routinely subjected to torture and often denied medical treatment. We are very concerned for Aung San Suu Kyi’s health in these conditions, particularly as she was seriously ill last week, but denied medical care by the regime.

Aung San Suu Kyi is facing trial for supposedly violating the terms of her house arrest, after an American man swam uninvited to her house and refused to leave. She faces a prison sentence of between three and five years.

United Nations Security Council on Friday expressed concern over the political impacts in relation to the charges and trial against Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 15-member body, in a press statement, reiterates its call for the release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and urged the Burmese military junta to engage in a political dialogue.

The UN Security Council calls on the Burmese junta to create “necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the support of the United Nations.”

The UNSC’ statement came a day after the special court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison on Friday said it has accepted the charge against Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She was charged for breaching her detention law.

The pro-democracy leader was taken from her lakeside home, where she had stayed more than 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest, to Insein prison and was charged after an American man allegedly swam across the Innya Lake and entered her house in early May.

She has been facing a court trial since May 18.

Nyan Win, her defense lawyer and spokesperson of her party – National League for Democracy, told Mizzima on Friday that the court has decided to accept the charge made against her.

But the Burmese Democracy Icon earlier told her lawyer that “I am innocent.”

Her trial, however, has ignited a chorus of international condemnation on the Burmese junta, saying it is trump-up case to try and continue detaining her, as her six-years of house arrest term will expire by the end of May.

Her International Lawyer, Jared Genser, who is also the president of US-based ‘Freedom Now’ calls the charges “Patently Ridiculous.”

The UNSC’s statement came after member states had an informal meeting earlier this week on Burma and the ongoing trial against the Burmese opposition leader.

While most of the council members agreed to issue a statement, China, a veto-wielding country, has opposed it saying the matter is Burma’s internal affairs. Japan and Russia have also appeared to be taking cautious position.

Friday’s press statement read out by the Council President Vitaly Churkin of Russia said, “The members of the Security Council affirm their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar [Burma] and, in that context, reiterate that the future of Myanmar [Burma] lies in the hands of all of its people.”

On October 11, 2007 and on May 2, 2008 the council issued press statements on Burma and had called the ruling junta to release all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and to start a dialogue with her and all other political actors.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

IFDH : Aung San Suu Kyi’s Case to ICC

Noble laureate,the detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,complete six years of continuous detention on May 27 as per the Burmese law, she should be freed said Nyan Win spokesperson of the National League for Democracy. NLD the party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, had appealed for her release through her lawyer and the appeal was rejected on May 1. Prime Minister’s office on May 1, handed a letter that rejected the appeal for Suu Kyi’s release to her lawyer Hla Myo Myint,” he said.

In the appeal, Hla Myo Myint had argued that the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi must end by May 27, as the law of Burma does not permit detention of more than five years on charges of disturbing peace in the country.

Suu Kyi was last arrested on May 30, 2003, after her motorcade was attacked by junta-backed mobs in upper Burma during a political tour. She was then charged with disturbing the peace in the country and each year the junta continues to extend her detention period.Genser Jared, Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer hired by her family members, said the Burmese regime was violating its own law by extending her house-arrest period each year.But the Janta Spokesperson has different view and said in accordance with the law of the country,Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be released.
Burma Lawyers’ Council in exile has said it is gathering evidence and collating ideas on how to produce the Burmese military generals in the International Criminal Court (ICC), for the crimes it had committed, including crimes against humanity.

The BLC, formed with Burmese lawyers in exile, on Tuesday said, it was looking for a way to file a case against the Burmese junta, for its crimes against the country’s citizens.

“We are looking at ways to determine how we can file a case against the junta, for their brutal actions against the Burmese people,” Thein Oo, Chairman of the BLC, told Mizzima.

He said, as a step towards looking for a way to bring the junta to the ICC, the BLC along with the International Federation for Human Rights (IFDH) is bringing together international experts, Burmese activists and others to a two-day seminar in Bangkok.

“This seminar is to brainstorm on how best to get justice for the suffering people in Burma and how the international community can take action against the brutal regime,” Thein Oo said.

The campaign to bring the Burmese military junta to the ICC began about two years ago, with a vague idea by the BLC. However, today, it has gained momentum and is able to draw the attention of international experts as well as the Burmese regime.Burma has not rectified the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court in July 2002, the ICC does not have any jurisdiction over Burma.

However, a clause under the statute of Territorial Jurisdiction of the treaty allows the ICC to act on a case based on a referral by the United Nations Security Council. The clause says the court is allowed to exercise jurisdiction, “where a situation is referred to the court by the UN Security Council”.

Thein Oo said, “The case of the UN Security Council referring it to the ICC might not take place soon but we are already in the process of campaigning for it.”

He said, they would present the case to the UNSC explaining how Burma’s military regime’s actions were threatening peace and security in the region.

Rights groups have accused Burma’s military junta of systematically abusing the rights of its own citizens, causing outflow of a large number of refugees and migrants. The junta’s military actions in eastern Burma have also particularly caused thousands of people to become homeless and live in the jungles.

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