Sunday, May 24, 2009

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.

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