Friday, May 29, 2009

Yettaw's testimony throws a wrench into junta's plans

by Nem Davies
Friday, 29 May 2009 13:52

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Yesterday’s state-run media, weary of potential implications, omitted some facts revealed during the court testimony on Wednesday of American John William Yettaw, who disclosed that he encountered security personnel while trying to sneak into Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence.

At Wednesday's hearing, Yettaw testified that he met with armed security personnel upon leaving her house after his first visit, in November of last year, with the security detachment aiming their guns at him and asking, "What are you doing here?" Apart from that, he reportedly faced no trouble and harassment by security deployed at Suu Kyi's compound and managed to leave the area, according to his testimony.

Then, in his second visit, he again testified he encountered five security personnel while trying to sneak into her house by swimming across Inya Lake. On this occasion security personnel threw some stones at him but did not do anything to block his entry.

However, yesterday's state-run media failed to report any of these proceedings.

In his testimony, Yettaw repeatedly justified entry into the house because "God sent him here to convey a message of imminent danger to the life of Daw Suu unleashed by a terrorist outfit."

The court’s reported earlier plan of handing down a verdict today, Friday, was jeopardized by Yettaw’s testimony, a leading police officer told Mizzima.

The court instead fixed the date for final arguments for Monday, June 1, said Kyi Win, who testified yesterday as the sole defense witness.

As with all but two days of the trial, Wednesday being the 8th day of the proceedings, the court was closed for Yettaw's testimony to journalists, the diplomatic community and other interested parties not directly involved in the case.

On a day when Aung San Suu Kyi's presence was not required at the court, Yettaw's testimony on Wednesday lasted approximately three hours with the judges also hearing for about half an hour from Suu Kyi's two live-in colleagues, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, who are also being charged.

Security remains tight around Insein Prison, where the court is convening, and Insein Market. Civilian organizations loyal to the junta can be seen monitoring those who come to the venue in vigil or out of keen interest in the proceedings.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s court date postponed to June 5

by Mungpi
Friday, 29 May 2009 21:21

New Delhi - The special court in Insein Prison on Friday extended the date for lawyers to submit arguments on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial until June 5, according to her lawyers.

Kyi Win, a member of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, said authorities sent them letters today informing them of the extension of the date for submission of arguments on the case.

“The information is that the arguments can be submitted latest by June 5,” Kyi Win told Mizzima.

Previously, the court had set June 1 as the deadline for the submission of arguments by lawyers.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently standing trial in Insein, is charged with breaching the regulations of her house arrest after she was visited by an uninvited American citizen at her lakeside residence.

The court has completed the hearing of all witnesses – both prosecution and defense – and is set to hold the hearing of final arguments by lawyers from both sides on June 5.

“After the hearing of the arguments the court will give the verdict,” Kyi Win confirmed.

Supporters and critics have accused the junta of masterminding the whole plot in order to continue detaining Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in order to move her out of the way of the junta’s planned 2010 election.

“I really don’t want to comment on the case and the court’s proceedings. But as a lawyer, I am hoping for the best,” Kyi Win said.

On Thursday, John William Yettaw, the American man, testified at the court in admission of his two visits to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, first on November 30, 2008 and the then on May 3 of this year. But he said in both cases he bumped into security guards, who despite knowing of his visits did not trouble him and let him go.

Yettaw’s testimony gives fresh provocation to the accusations by opposition activists and critics that the junta did have fair knowledge of his visits to the Burmese pro-democracy leader’s house on University Avenue.

Lawyers of the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate said that even under the regulations of her house arrest she is not guilty of committing any crime as the law only prohibits her from contacting people outside.

“In this case, she has not contacted anyone from outside, Yettaw made his visits on his own,” Nyan Win, the NLD spokesperson and a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, said.

Yettaw, in his testimony, told the court that he had visited the Burmese democracy icon because he had a vision that she will be assassinated by terrorists and that God had asked him to go and inform her and the government of Burma.

Nyan Win said legally no witnesses have been able to provide evidence to prove her guilty, “So, we are hopeful that she will win, but since the case is handled by the government we don’t know what will happen.”


Indonesian coalition raises awareness on Rohingya, Suu Kyi

by John Moe
Friday, 29 May 2009 18:27

Jakarta – The Indonesian Civil Society Coalition on Burma (KMSUB) held a seminar on Friday today to highlight the plight of the Rohingya boatpeople who are stranded in Indonesia’s Aceh province after fleeing from Burma earlier in the year.

The seminar, which also expressed concerns for Burma’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was attended by Indonesian rights activists, local NGOs and international diplomats.

Rafendi Djamin, coordinator of the Indonesian NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy, explained to the audience the details of the situation surrounding the Rohingya boatpeople and expressed grave concern for their well being.

The seminar also touched on the subject of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently being detained in Insein Prison facing trial under charges of breaching her detention law – for which a verdict is expected on Monday.

Beckham writes in support of Aung San Suu Kyi

by Mizzima News
Friday, 29 May 2009 22:45

New Delhi - British International soccer player David Beckham has written a message of support for detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the website that is collecting messages for her 64th birthday.

“Nineteen years ago, the Burmese people chose Aung San Suu Kyi as their next leader. For most of those 19 years she has been kept under house arrest by the military junta that runs the country. We must not stand by as she is silenced again. Now is the time for the international community to speak with one voice: Free Aung San Suu Kyi,” Beckham wrote in the website., is a website created to allow people around the world to write 64 words for Aung San Suu Kyi to be send to her on her 64th birthday, on June 19.
Thursday, May 28, 2009

PHOENIX entertainment journal suspended this week

by May Kyaw
Thursday, 28 May 2009 20:50

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burma’s censor board suspended the publishing license of the ‘PHOENIX’, an entertainment journal for this week’s issue after it published some censored news.

The censor board under the Burmese Ministry of Information suspended the publishing of this week’s issue of this journal. It is published every Thursday.

The censor board also reminded the journal authorities to publish only entertainment news.

“They have no time to edit when the journal is being censored. The censor board can give them permission to publish only on Wednesday. But they already published the journal by that time,” a person belonging to the censor board circle said.

The journal fraternity said that they do not have enough time to make necessary changes if the censor board sends its censored and finalized draft copy on Wednesday for the Thursday issue.

This journal reported the news of objection by the ‘Eleven Media Group’ against the ‘Lucky Eleven’ advertisement by Yangon Media Group in its 27 May issue by carrying out interviews on legal ground.

Though the economic impact on the journal due to a week’s suspension is not too heavy, its marketing will be hit for the newly published journal.

Junta rejects UN Security Council’s demand

by Mizzima News
Thursday, 28 May 2009 00:00

Despite the United Nations Security Council urging implementation of an all inclusive political dialogue including Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and other stake-holders and initiate reconciliation, Burma’s military government has said it will continue with its planned 2010 election as part of its roadmap to democracy.

Following the trial against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the UNSC issued a statement on May 22 expressing its concern over developments in Burma. In response to the UNSC’s statement, the junta, in the state-run newspaper on Thursday, said Burma now has a new constitution and under its guidelines will hold a multi-party general election in 2010.

The UNSC, in its press statement, called on the 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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

News updates on 8th day of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial

Suu Kyi’s testimony in court
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 20:17

The Rangoon North District court sitting inside Insein prison on Tuesday examined Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and prosecution witness Investigating Officer Police Captain Than Soe of the Special Branch. Below is an excerpt of the examination held on Tuesday in court, published by the junta’s the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Q : Do Daw Khin Khin Win and Daw Win Ma Ma (a) Ange Lay stay with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
A : Yes, in my home.

Q : Are the restriction order, prohibition order and the order for extension of the prohibition order issued?
A : Yes, the orders are issued to me.

Q : Did American citizen Mr. John William Yettaw come to your home on 30 November, 2008?
A : I was told about his arrival, but I didn’t see him.

Q : Did American citizen Mr. John William Yettaw intruded into your house compound swimming across the Inya Lake on 3 May night.
A : As for as I understand, he arrived at my home in the morning of 4 May.

Q : What time did he arrive at your home?
A : I don’t know. I was reported on his arrival about 5 am.

Q : Who reported to you?
A : Daw Khin Khin Win reported to me that a person was in my home.

Q : Who was that person?
A : I didn’t know who was that person then, but I knew him later on.

Q : Is that person American citizen Mr. John William Yettaw?
A : Yes.

Q : Did you report to the authority concerned on his arrival at your home?
A : No.

Q : Is it true that you received Mr John William Yettaw, gave food to him and arranged accomodation for him?
A : I permitted him to take shelter at my home temporarily.

Q : Did you provide food and talk to Mr. John William Yettaw and accept letters and gifts from him?
A : I talked to Mr. John William Yettaw. I am not sure whether letters and items remained or were left by Mr. John William Yettaw. Only Mr. John William Yettaw himself knows that matter.

Q : Which date and time did Mr. John William Yettaw leave your home?
A : Mr. John William Yettaw left my home between 11.45 pm and mid-night on 5 May.

Q : Which way did Mr. John William Yettaw take when he left your home?
A : I only knew that Mr. John William Yettaw went to the lake. Because of the darkness, I don’t know which way he took.

Q: Did Police Captain Tin Zaw Tun come and confiscate the things Mr. John William Yettaw had left at the residence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
A: Yes, Police Captain Tin Zaw Tun came and confiscated the things Mr. John William Yettaw had left.

Q: Were there members of security force at the surrounding of the residence while Mr. John William Yettaw was at the residence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
A: They were not in the compound. I don’t know whether they were out of the compound or not.

Q: Did American citizen Mr. John William Yettaw take photos and shoot video in the house of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
A: I don’t know whether he took photos and shot video while I was at my house. I only learnt that he took photos and shot video when I appeared in court.

Q: Do Daw Aung San Suu Kyi know the facts prescribed in restriction order, prohibition order and order for extension of the prohibition order.
A: Yes, I know the facts written in the orders.

Following Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s testimony and questions by the court, prosecution witness Investigating Officer Police Captain Than Soe of Special Branch was examined.

The witness said he received the case, Bahan Police Station case (Pa) 302/ 09 under section 13 (1) of Immigration Act (Emergency Provisions), on May 11, to be examined. On the same day he questioned prosecution witnesses and on May 12, he continued to question the prosecution witnesses and received the search forms handed over by Police Captain Maung Maung Myint and Police Captain Tin Zaw Tun. And he also got the sample of Mr. John William Yettaw’s hand writing in connection with the case and sent it together with Mr. John William Yettaw’s hand writing confiscated at the house of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the Criminal Investigation Department in order to be examined whether they were written by same person.

He said, Mr. John William Yettaw was questioned on the same day and the prosecution witnesses were examined on 13 May, and he presented two search forms handed over by Police Captain Sa Kyaw Win and May on 14, Mr Yettaw was arrested as per Case No. 264/09 of Bahan Police Station and filed against him under section 13 (1) of Immigration Act (Emergency Provisions) at Rangoon North District Court.

The proceedings are adjourned until 10 a.m. on 28 May.


NLD calls for release of Suu Kyi and to kick-start dialogue
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 16:01

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.


Security beefed up in Kyaukpadaung Township
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 13:38

Security has been beefed up since last night in Kyaukpadaung township in Mandalay division. Police reportedly patrolled the town on motorcycles and plainclothes officials and members of USDA are seen positiond near the town’s pagoda.

Local residents said, security has been beefed up after NLD youths, students and civilians held prayer services at the pagoda for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi on May 25 and 26.

A local resident said, security has been tightened on Wednesday as it marks the 19th anniversary of Burma’s last general election and the date for the release of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently facing trial in a court in Insein prison.


NLD observes 19th anniversary of general election
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 13:26

The Opposition National League for Democracy on Wednesday held a commemorative ceremony of the 19th anniversary of Burma’s last general election at its head office in Rangoon’s Shwegondine street in Bahan Township.

Authorities have stepped-up security with several plainclothes police monitoring the NLD’s activities. Meanwhile, police also continued patrolling the city of Rangoon.

“We held the anniversary at the NLD office. It started at noon (local time) and I think it will be over by 1:30 or 2 p.m.(local time). There are security personnel everywhere, I can’t say how many but there are a lot of them. They are in plainclothes. And are patrolling in vehicles. We see about 10 vehicles on the streets,” an eyewitness told Mizzima.

“I don’t know how many people came to attend the commemorative ceremony but it is a lot as people from other townships also came. NLD members from Myin Gyan, Thaung Thar, Taungoo, Kyaukpadaung etc have come,” he added.


Security beefed up in and around Rangoon
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 13:15

Security remains tight in Rangoon, particularly around Insein prison, where the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi continues on Wednesday, which also marks the 19th anniversary of Burma’s last general election.

Armed security forces are patrolling the streets and are stationed at road junctions, eyewitnesses said.

“Today, there are a lot more security personnel everywhere compared to other days. We don’t know what kind of information they [authorities] have for increasing the security to this level,” an eyewitness told Mizzima.

“As far as I can see at least eight vehicles used by the riot police have been parked in front of Insein Bazaar. And the police are fully armed. The Insein Bazaar is connected to the prison. And we can also see police vehicles and trucks patrolling the city. Some said about four to five police vehicles are patrolling the streets in Minglartaungnyunt and in other townships,” he added.

The eyewitness also said, members of the pro-junta groups, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Swan Arrshin members – are mixing among the people and some are even disguised as tri-shaw drivers.

“The weather is cloudy and the streets are quite clear,” he added.


Papers distributed in front of NLD office
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 12:58

Papers carrying a message that says bombers have come to town from the borders were scattered by a group of people from a vehicle in front of the NLD head office in Rangoon’s Shwegondine Street in Bahan Township.

A group of people, who came in a high speed light truck, threw about 15 papers in front of the NLD office on Tuesday at about 11:30 a.m. (loca time), eyewitnesses said. The A4 size paper had the NLD logo and a peacock sign, which is used by student activists, and carried a message that says bombers have sneaked into Rangoon from the border area.

An eyewitness, who arrived in the NLD office, said the people made it look like the NLD is spreading the papers.


Security alert in Bogyoke Market
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 11:21

Local junta authorities in Rangoon’s Bogyoke Market have alerted security forces saying there is a likelihood of public unrest or demonstrations on 27, 28 and 29 of May.

On Wednesday security was tightened in and around Bogyoke Market and along the Strand Road, with armed security personnel and members of pro-junta group, USDA, swarming everywhere on the street.


1990 election anniversary
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 11:09

The Opposition National League for Democracy on Wednesday, May 27, is set to hold a commemorative ceremony of the 19th anniversary of Burma’s last election, where the NLD won a landslide victory. Despite Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party winning over 80 percent of parliamentary seats, the junta refused to hand over power.ok,


Suu Kyi’s house guards transferred
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 11:05

Security personnel guarding the house of Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have been transferred to Inngapu Town in the Irrawaddy division, after the American, John William Yettaw, was arrested for illegally entering the house.

The riot police from the Police battalion (7) were transferred on May 7, the day after Yettaw was allegedly fished out from Innya Lake, on his way back from Suu Kyi’s house.

Moreover, the barbed wire barricades used for blocking the road in front of Suu Kyi’s house have also been shifted to the Insein Prison Road and to Htaukkyanh at the entrance to Rangoon city.

The riot police, who were guarding Suu Kyi’s house, were not included among the witnesses submitted by the prosecution.

US President Obama calls for immediate release of Suu Kyi
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 11:02

US President Barack Obama has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday.

In a statement issued by the White House on Tuesday, Obama condemned the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi saying it is a show trial based on spurious charges and it “casts serious doubt on the Burmese regime’s willingness to be a responsible member of the international community.”

Obama urged the Burmese regime to take the situation as an important opportunity to demonstrate that it respects its own laws and its own people, and is ready to work with the National League for Democracy and other ethnic and opposition groups, and is prepared to move towards reconciliation.

“It is time for the Burmese government to drop all charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and unconditionally release her and her fellow political prisoners,” said Obama, adding that such action would be a significant step “on Burma’s part to begin to restore its standing in the eyes of the United States and the world community and to move towards a better future for its people.”

U Gambira transferred to Kalay prison

by Phanida
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 18:27

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Buddhist monk Ashin Gambira who staged a protest in prison and demanded a meeting with military junta supremo Snr. Gen. Than Shwe was said to have been transferred to Kalay prison.

Gambira recently staged a protest by shouting and demanding a face-to-face meeting with Snr. Gen. Than Shwe. Following this show of defiance he was transferred to Kalaymyo prison from Khamti prison in Sagaing Division.

“Yesterday my mom called me and said that he was transferred to Kalay as told by her friends. But we still don’t know when he was shifted. We heard that he was moved due to his poor health,” his elder sister Khin Thu Htay told Mizzima.

The authorities tried him in Kyimyindine court in Insein prison for leading the 2007 Saffron Revolution. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in three cases on November 19 last year. He was also charged with insulting the religion and committing crime against public tranquility.

He was later sentenced to an additional 56 years in prison in nine cases in Kamayut Township court and another four cases in Ahlone Township court. So his total prison term is now 68 years.

He was arrested in Singai Township, Mandalay Division on 4 November 2007 when he was on the run following a manhunt by the authorities.

Politically active Ashin Gambira became a leading monk of ‘All Burma Monks Alliance’ (ABMA) in the nationwide monk-led protests popularly known as ‘Saffron Revolution’ in September 2007 while he was pursuing his religious studies of ‘Dhamasariya’ at the age of 29.

He suffered from brain and neurological diseases while he was being held in Insein prison.

Though his mother Daw Yay was planning to visit his elder brother Aung Kayw Kyaw who is serving 14 years in Taungyi prison in Shan State, she changed her mind to meet Ashin Gambira in Kalay prison instead this week because of his poor health.

“My mom said that she would go there within a week and she would prepare food for him. Khamti is cold and he had asthma when he was young. We spent a lot of time and money to cure the disease. I think now this old disease has resurfaced. She would go to Uzin (monk) first,” Khin Thu Htay said.

Other family members who are serving in different prisons are in good health, she added. They are her younger brother Aung Ko Ko Lwin in Kyaukphyu prison in Rakhin State and her husband Moe Htet Lian in Mawlamyine prison in Mon State.

Court rejects three witnesses in Suu Kyi’s trial

by Mungpi
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 11:25

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The special court in Insein Prison 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.

The Nobel Peace Laureate on Tuesday appeared before the court and gave testimony to the effect that she is innocent. In her testimony, reproduced by the NLD in a statement on Wednesday, she said she had not been warned or investigated by the authorities concerned when her doctor reported Yettaw’s previous visit, in November 2008, to them.

She admitted that she knew of Yettaw’s earlier visit through Khin Khin Win and had informed her doctor, Tin Myo Win, who reported the information to the concerned authorities.

“I informed the authorities on 4 December 2008 through Dr. Tin Myo Win who visited me on that day for a regular medical check-up. The authorities didn’t ask me any questions and I didn’t hear of any action being taken on this report either,” she said in her statement.

“There was no warning given to me to inform the authorities concerned in such a case as an intrusion into my residence,” she said, adding that she had intended to inform the authorities of Yettaw’s last visit through her doctor, who would be visiting her on May 7.

Following the pro-democracy leader’s testimony there has been speculation on the whereabouts of Dr. Tin Myo Win and the reason for not including him among the defense witnesses submitted by her lawyers.

Nyan Win, however, said Dr. Tin Myo Win, who was briefly detained on May 7 and later released, is currently safe with his family.

“We did not include Dr. Tin Myo Win as one of the defense witnesses because whatever Dr. Tin Myo Win knows and would testify to has already been testified to by prosecution witnesses,” Nyan Win explained.

Aung San Suu Kyi also pointed out that while security in her house was breached she did not see any security guards being produced as prosecution witnesses.

Dead man’s explosive devices unearthed

by Mizzima News
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 12:50

Authorities on Tuesday unearthed explosive devices used by a deceased bomber in Rangoon’s suburban Township of Shwepyithar, the state-run newspaper said on Wednesday.

A report by the state-run newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar, on Wednesday said Win Hlaing, a resident of Shwepyithar township while digging the ground in his compound discovered 65 detonators nestling in a plastic bottle and sulphur blocks weighing about two ticals.

The newspaper said, at the same house on October 19, 2008 a bomb-maker Thet Oo Win (alias) Gadon was killed in a bomb blast, while he was assembling the bomb. The explosives discovered on Tuesday were left by Thet Oo Win who planned to set of a series of bombings in Rangoon but died, the newspaper added.

The newspaper also said, explosives were found to be of the same kind as the explosives used in the blast in Maha Bandoola Park on 25 September, 2008, where seven people were reportedly injured in the blast.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shan Army ambushed junta soldiers, killed two officers

by Pho Zaw
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 19:48

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Fifteen people including two Burmese Army officers were killed during an ambush by the Shan State Army – South (SSA-South) on May 24 night, according to Shan army sources.

The SSA-South’s army column led by Aung Pe Sut took up position in Hnam Zam Township, between Hnam Hu and Kho Lam villages, 72 miles east of Shan State capital Taungyi and ambushed the junta’s troops at about 10 p.m.

The junta’s troops in the convoy included Col. Mai Zin led SSA-South splinter group which had surrendered to the Burmese military regime, and two officers of the ‘Military Affairs Security’ (MAS), and those of other ranks. They were heading for discussions with the ceasefire groups on the junta’s proposed transformation of their armies into Border Guards.

“There were a total of 15 people on the vehicle. The Shan State Army did not suffer any casualty during the attack,” a SSA-South spokesman, Sai Lau Sai told Mizzima.

However, the information cannot be independent verified.

Earlier on May 21, the SSA-S attacked the Burmese Army troops stationed between Panlong and Lai Kha villages, leaving six soldiers dead and seized eight assorted arms, according to a Shan Army news release.

About 100 personnel led by Col. Mai Zin of SSA-S split from away from their main group and surrendered to the military regime in mid-2006. The junta, however, allowed them to keep their arms as a people’s militia.

The SSA-South was established in Mai Sat on 21 May 1958 under the leadership of Sao New Saw Ram and they are based now in Loi Pan Taung range in Mai Ton Township, opposite the Thai-Burmese border town of Mea Phan.


News updates on 7th day of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial

Interview with Nyan Win, one of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s defence lawyers
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 19:04

“Burmese military authorities announced this morning the removal of Article 10 (b), which kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. So, there is no more house arrests. The fallout of the removal is that she is no longer restricted to the State Protection Law.”

“According to her testimony, she said she was imprisoned. And along with her two friends, they did not receive protection according to the law. As she had been imprisoned for a long time, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said her political conviction does not allow her to push another person into danger and in trouble. That is the reason she had not informed the police about Yettaw’s visit.”


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s cross-examination
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 18:10

Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday looked a little weak, but otherwise appeared fine. She spoke to the audience before and after today's hearing but since her voice was low the only words that could be heard were reportedly, “Thank you for your concern,” and “I am happy to see you.”

Diplomats and other invited guests stood up as a sign of respect as she entered the courtroom, prompting security personnel to remind them to sit down.

The trial began at 1:05 p.m. (local time) and concluded at 2:00 p.m. (local time). One of her lawyers, Nyan Win, apparently complained to the judges that he had not had adequate opportunities to meet with his client. But his complaint drew no reply from the judicial panel.

As the proceeding began the judge read out questions to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who generally answered in one or two sentences.

She was first asked whether she knew about the restriction order on herself and her two live-in aides, to which she answered she only knew of the restrictions on her.

When asked of whether she knew about a November 30, 2008, incident in which American John Yettaw reportedly made his first visit to her house, she said she had heard about it but did not see him.

Asked of whether she knew about his subsequent intrusion on the night of May 3, 2009, she replied she knew about it only in the morning at around 5 a.m. (local time), adding that it was Khin Khin Win, one of her live-in aides, who informed her.

Asked whether she knew Yettaw prior to his visit, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she only learned of him and his identity when he was found in her home.

She was then asked whether she reported to the police when Yettaw left the premises on May 5 at about 11:45 p.m. She replied, "No."

Next asked whether she had spoken to Yettaw, she responded, "Yes."

She was then questioned as to whether she knew of Yettaw's return path following his visit. She replied that she knew he headed toward the lake but that since it was dark she could not say for sure what route he took.

The judge then asked whether Yettaw had left items, including a Mormon book, at her home on purpose or had forgotten them. She replied she did not know whether he had forgotten them or deliberately left them behind.

She was then asked whether she had provided food and accommodation to Yettaw. She said she had afforded him temporary refuge.

Asked whether she knew about Yettaw taking photos and video, she replied that she only knew of the photos and videos when they were presented in the court.

The judge then asked of the situation of the security personnel at her home. She replied that there were no security guards inside her compound, but did not know the situation outside her compound.


Aung San Suu Kyi and her guests
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 17:54

Wearing a purple coloured dress, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in court at about 12:55 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday.

As she walked in, her lawyer Nyan Win handed her a note. She then wore her spectacles and read through it. After reading it, she greeted diplomats, who had come to hear her testimony in court.

Foreign diplomats and other invited guests stood up as a sign of respect to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as she walked into the court and took a seat.

Security officials in the court urged the people to take their seat, but the invited guests stood until Daw Aung San Suu Kyi sat down.

The court convened at 1:05 p.m. (local time).


Summary of Aung San Suu Kyi’s testimony
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 16:01

On Tuesday afternoon, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi gave her testimony to the special court in Insein prison. Below is a summary:

Aung San Suu Kyi testified that she had lived with party members Daw Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma and gave a brief explanation of her house arrest. She testified on how she came to know that the American citizen John William Yettaw had arrived at her residence and that because of his pleading had agreed to allow him to stay for a while and that she also spoke to him.

But she said she does not know whether Mr. Yettaw had deliberately left some materials at her home, and that she had thought that Yettaw had left the house by May 5, between 11:45 p.m. and mid-night (local time).

She said she saw Yettaw heading towards the lake but since it was dark she could not see where he had gone.

Moreover she also said that she had not seen any security guards inside her compound when Yettaw arrived and when he left the house. She said, that she was not aware of Yettaw taking pictures of her house. This she only came to know in court.


Court adjourns for the day
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 15:07

The Insein special court has adjourned for the day. Lawyers of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, foreign diplomats, and journalists were seen coming out of the Insein prison at about 2:30 p.m (local time).


In the court room
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 14:09

Foreign diplomats and selected journalists have entered the Insein special court room, where opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be giving her testimony.

Win Tin, the central executive committee member of the National League for Democracy, whose name had been submitted as one of the witnesses for the accused, however, on Tuesday was not allowed to enter the court.

“Only when the court sends me a notice, I will be giving my testimony. Because if the judge accepts me as one of the witness, they will send me a notice,” Win Tin told Mizzima.

Outside the prison precincts, about 200 supporters and party members of Aung San Suu Kyi have gathered, waiting for the outcome of the trial.

“Till today, the roads are blocked. There is heightened security everywhere. I think it looks more than other days. They have blocked the bazaar. The security forces are also all around the bazaar. Previously, there were about two, but today there are about four people in a group,” Win Tin said explaining the situation around the Insein prison.


Suu Kyi’s house arrest term can be extended to six months: Police
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 10:54

A police officer on Tuesday told journalists, during a press briefing inside the Insein prison, that the house arrest term of Aung San Suu Kyi can be extended to another six months, even if there were no new charges levelled against her.

The police officer Myint Thein of the Special Branch explained to journalists and diplomats that the house arrest term, which will expire on May 27, can be extended up to November. He explained that while the authorities were still in the processes of considering whether or not to extend the house arrest term, the American man appeared on the scene.

The press briefing was also attended by Burma’s Police Chief Khinyi along with 29 foreign diplomats, 15 foreign correspondents and 10 domestic correspondents.

The court is currently taking a break but will reconvene at 12:30 p.m. (local time), sources said.


South Africa wishes to send delegation to Burma
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 10:50

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim on Monday met the Ambassador Designate for Burma, Mr Tin Oo Lwin, and proposed to send a delegation to Burma to facilitate a process of negotiation.

He also expressed South Africa’s continued concern about the rearrest of the leader of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi and called on her immediate and unconditional release.

Mr Ebrahim said the South African government would like to see Burma returning to civilian rule, with a multi-party and functioning democracy and urged the creation of a normal political climate conducive to free and fair elections.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest lifted

by Mungpi
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 22:51

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Burma’s military authorities on Tuesday lifted the house arrest order of opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her lawyer said. But she remains under detention inside Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison, where she is facing trial on charges of breaching her terms of detention.

One of her lawyers, Nyan Win, told Mizzima that Police Brigadier General Myo Thein, along with Burma’s Police Chief Khin Yi, on Tuesday morning read out an order removing restrictions imposed on Aung San Suu Kyi under her former sentence of house arrest.

“It implies that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no more under house arrest, but she remains under detention as she is currently facing a trial,” Nyan Win explained.

Myo Thein also told foreign diplomats and journalists that authorities had been thinking of releasing Aung San Suu Kyi when her current term of detention expires on May 27, but the American’s visit had interrupted their considerations.

Khin Yi and Myo Thein said authorities had considered releasing her even though her detention period could still be extended for another six months. However, they did not cite any legal reasons for why her house arrest could have been extended.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s International Lawyer, Jared Genser, was outraged at the news, saying no legal grounds – both by international and domestic law – can allow the extension of her detention.

Genser, in an email message, said the junta’s claim has already been considered and rejected by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which is part of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Genser said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be legally placed under further house arrest. He cited the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s opinion issued on the holding of the Burmese pro-democracy leader.

The opinion, issued by the Working Group on August 29, 2008, states that Burma’s 1975 State Protection Law allowed Aung San Suu Kyi to be detained only until May 2008.

“Therefore, the most recent extension on 28 May, 2008, amounts to a prima facie violation of the Union of Myanmar’s own laws,” the opinion read.

And even if the junta claims that the order to restrict her was issued only on November 28, 2003, she could only be detained up to November 27, 2008, the opinion stated.

Court Testimony

Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday gave her testimony to the court, stating that she had not invited and had not known of the visit of John William Yettaw until she was informed of his presence by her housemate, Khin Khin Win, on May 4.

The Nobel Peace Laureate also said she had given Yettaw temporary refuge as he pleaded with her to allow him to stay. She also admitted providing food.

Further, she confirmed she had not informed the police after Yettaw left her home, saying that her political convictions did not allow her to push Yettaw into danger by informing the police about his visit.

“Aung San Suu Kyi said that by herself and her friends facing restrictions, and not receiving protection under the law, her political convictions could not allow any other person to be put in danger,” Nyan Win, one of her lawyers, recounted of her testimony.

Nyan Win said the court on Tuesday did not allow for any cross examination of Aung San Suu Kyi, the judge only reading out questions to which she gave short but precise answers.

Nyan Win also said the judge on Monday refused to allow him a meeting with his client to prepare for Tuesday’s testimony.

The court has fixed the next hearing to be on Wednesday, but Nyan Win said it will only be concerned with the cases against Khin Khin Win, Win Ma Ma and Yettaw. Aung San Suu Kyi is not slated to appear again until Thursday.

“I think at this rate the trial could be over within days. It might take only about another three or four days,” said Nyan Win, adding that the verdict could probably already have been given to the judge.

“But if the court reaches a verdict and sentences her, we will move to higher courts for appeal and will continue fighting,” he added.

‘Half-open’ court again

Authorities for the second time on Tuesday allowed 25 journalists – 15 correspondents for foreign media outlets and 10 domestic correspondents – along with 29 diplomats into the court to witness the proceedings against Burma’s pro-democracy leader.

They were also given a press briefing by Police Brigadier General Myo Thein, where Police Chief Khin Yi was also present.

A correspondent for a foreign news service in Rangoon told Mizzima that the junta probably wants to signal to the world that they are not restricting journalists and diplomats to hear the testimony of Aung San Suu Kyi and wants to prove they are conducting an open court.

“But what an open court it is? I don’t understand,” he said.

Last Wednesday authorities had allowed 10 journalists and 30 foreign diplomats into the special court in Insein Prison. Kyi Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, said they welcomed the move but would like to see the trial be even more open.

He termed the court “a half-open court” and urged the government to open up more.

But the following day, Thursday, the court was again conducted behind closed-doors, with no other people present except those directly involved in the case – judges, legal advisors and security officials.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Burma and Bangladesh agree to boost ties

by Moe Thu
Monday, 25 May 2009 11:32

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – To prevent border conflicts the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Ms Dipu Moni has proposed regular meetings between the border security forces of the two countries during her four-day trip to Burma in the second week of May, said a diplomatic source.

During her, May 14 to 17, official visit to Burma Moni met Burmese Prime Minister General Thein Sein and other ministers and discussed bilateral relation between the two countries.

“She proposed regular meetings between the heads of border security forces between the two countries during the meeting with Home Affairs Minister Major General Maung Oo,” the source said.

A dispute erupted between the two countries, in late 2008, regarding control over the offshore oil blocks in the Bay of Bengal. But the dispute ebbed when a Burmese naval ship withdrew from the Bay.

The Bangladesh minister also raised the border issue and explained Bangladesh’s position on fencing the border by Burmese authorities.

During the visit, Moni also met Energy Minister Brigadier General Lun Thi and discussed cooperation between the two countries relating to hydro electricity, energy and gas sectors.

The source said the foreign minister proposed setting up of fertilizer plants on either side to produce fertilizer from the gas in Shwe gas fields in western Burma’s Arakan State, bordering Bangladesh.

Both countries agreed to boost bilateral trade to US$ 500 million in the fiscal year 2009-2010, up from US$ 140 million at present, the source said.

“Both sides will also exchange delegations to chalk out a commercial route between the two countries to promote bilateral trade,” said the source, adding that the plan includes building road and establishment of costal commercial navigation.

Lightning protest movement should be started: CPB

by Ko Wild
Monday, 25 May 2009 17:07

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Communist Party of Burma (CPB) has issued a statement saying a lightning protest movement against the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi should be conducted not only in front of Insein Prison, but throughout the country.

The statement says members of the main opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD) , and other pro-democracy forces should expand their movement from its current context of only gathering outside the prison on trial dates to include protest gatherings throughout Rangoon and in other places in a scattered, lightning movement.

“Making a movement around Insein Prison is, in military terms, like moving in the killing field. So we should start a guerrilla style lightning and scattered movement at unexpected times and in unexpected places,” the statement reads.

As a tactical component of this approach, protesters should send a letter to the Army, government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and administrative units in addition to commencing a poster and pamphlet campaign and chanting the Metta Sutra, the statement suggests.

Opposition forces, including the NLD, should establish their own "systematic underground units" and secrecy should be a priority, the statement added.

Since important people like Win Tin will have many other important works to do, such a person should not go daily to the prison. It’s time for other leaders to rally around this movement in any available role, CPB party spokesman Comrade Po Than Jaung told Mizzima.

As the current trial of Aung San Suu Kyi is filled with mystery and suspicion, it should be open and accessible to anyone, including foreigners and media personnel, he further commented. Thus, the CPB suggests that the lightning movement should start by demanding Aung San Suu Kyi be tried in an open court accessible to the people.

Meanwhile, military leaders are gearing up preparations for the 2010 general election for which critics speculate the trial is aimed at ensuring Aung San Suu Kyi remains sidelined from the proceedings.


Opposition refutes junta’s allegation of planting bomb

by Phanida
Monday, 25 May 2009 20:34

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Border based pro-democracy opposition forces have rubbished the junta’s allegation that it had planted a bomb found in Pyinmana railway station near the new capital city, Naypyitaw.

“Today they accused our student’s army of being a terrorist organization. They accused us of planning bomb blasts in urban areas to instill fear among the people. Our student’s army strongly objects to these allegations reported in the junta’s daily newspaper,” the ‘All Burma Students’ Democratic Front’ (ABSDF) Chairman Than Ke said.

The SPDC’s (junta) allegation is wrong and they are not using violent means on the people, Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB) General Secretary Dr. Naing Aung said.

“Since the inception of our organization, our objective is to help and support the people’s movement by peaceful and non-violent means. We are into non-violent people’s movement and are pushing the people in non-violent way only. There is no violence in our movement,” Dr. Naing Aung said.

Today’s issue of junta’s daily newspaper reported that a time bomb was found on Naypyitaw-Pyinmana No. 32 Train, in tye Upper Class Coach No. 5 yesterday morning and that it was allegedly planted by terrorists.

Than Ke also denied that they have a ‘Committee for Promoting People Activities’ (CPPA) as alleged by the Burmese military regime. The junta has declared the ABSDF a terrorist organization.

The newspaper also reported that two people were sent to Burma by these terrorist organizations to trigger a series of bomb blasts in Rangoon at busy and crowded areas and near the Insein market besides laying booby traps meant to explode when security personnel come to remove their anti-government posters.

The junta must take all responsibility for the explosions and threats.

“They need to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as soon as possible to overcome the political, economic and social crises that Burma faces. They must engage in dialogue at the earliest date. Only in this way will our country be free from all crises and hardships,” Than Ke said.

“We want to expose that the junta has not only arrested Daw Suu unfairly but is also unjustly going against the entire democratic movement. We plan to show we are firmly behind Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and are united as one in this struggle,” Dr. Naing Aung said.

He further said that the junta’s current actions of trying to disarm the ceasefire groups, framing a case against Daw Suu, declaring ‘Burma Lawyers’ Council’ as an unlawful organization are meant to mislead the people and to tarnish the image of these organizations and individuals.


Villagers flee from DKBA troops out to recruit

by Ko Wild
Monday, 25 May 2009 21:28

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Villagers of Kawkereik district, Karen State are fleeing from troops of the ‘Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’ (DKBA) who come to their villages to forcibly recruit soldiers for its army.

DKBA’s 999th Brigade mainly recruits villagers under the age of 30 in Kyonebai, Chaungphyaar, Kawkabaung, Ohntabin villages in Kyonedoe Township in this district through the village chairmen. They are forcibly recruiting even villagers in the 40 to 50 age group if their preferred age group is not available. The villagers in these villages have to flee from the clutches of DKBA to avoid going to the frontline.

“They recruited 25 people from Kyonebai and 10 men from Chaungphyar, Ohntabin and Kawkathaung. No one dares to go with them. All have had to flee from their homes. But they have to give soldiers to them anyhow. The youth might think of going with the DKBA if they are not meant to do combat duty. But now they have to go to the frontline in Karenni and Kachin State for combat duty,” a local villager told Mizzima on condition of anonymity.

The DKBA issued orders which said those who do not wish to serve in their army must pay hundreds of thousands of Kyats for hiring a person instead of them. All these substitutes must have passed at least the 8th grade. The parents of these youths are in trouble and miserable.

“Many people are in trouble as they cannot find both soldiers and cash. Some mothers and grandmothers are crying their heart out. Some youths went to monasteries to be ordained as monks to avoid conscription. But they cannot escape from the DKBA’s clutches. So now the children are fleeing between Kyonedoe, Pa-an and Myawadi towns,” he added.

Another local resident told Mizzima that the conscription of soldiers by DKBA is now rampant in all the villages in Kawkereik district and the deadline for sending soldiers to them is just three days away. Now they have to give soldiers besides giving cash in the past.

“The DKBA is demanding fees frequently from the villagers in the range of Kyat 40,000 to 50,000. So the villagers are scared of them. We have not yet found any solution to this serious problem. Many armed groups are here, the Peace Council, DKBA and KNU. All come in turns. And then they recruit soldiers forcibly from us. We fear all of them,” he said.

Similar forcible recruitment has been reported in Paikyone Township in Pa-an District and it is learnt that there are about 200 new forcibly recruited soldiers from Kwanbi and Maethane villages in Hlaing Bwe Township, he said.

DKBA is the breakaway faction of the KNU which split from the mother unit in 1994 and signed a ceasefire agreement with the SPDC (junta).


Non-residents in Kawthaung forced to leave

by May Kyaw
Monday, 25 May 2009 21:31

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Visitors to Kawthaung are being checked thoroughly and sent back home.

The National Identity cards of those arriving at the airport, harbours and bus terminals are being checked and non-local people are being detained for a while before being sent back to their homes as of May 22.

“Now they are detained in the old hospital of Kawthaung and are not allowed to go outside. They are being divided into groups and assigned to quarter heads and sent back one group at a time,” a resident told Mizzima.

“If those who are being stopped can say where they are headed exactly, they let them go. They detain those who didn’t know any local people to go to,” he added.

Although nobody knows the reason why strangers are not being accepted because no public announcement was made but local people said it could be because of a boat accident near the Thahtay Island carrying people going to Thailand to work.

However, people from all over the country are still coming to Kawthoung as of now.


Junta’s violations severe in Northern Burma: CSW

by Solomon
Monday, 25 May 2009 22:53

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an advocacy group, said human rights violations continue to be grave in areas where ethnic minorities live and have come out with fresh accounts of violations during their field trip to Northern Burma.

CSW, in a report released after their three-week field trip to Kachin state in northern Burma, said they heard horrifying testimonies from victims of human rights violations committed by the ruling junta’s army.

“The situation in Kachin State is bad, we found first hand evidence of rape, religious discrimination, land confiscation and human trafficking,” Benedict Rogers, CSW’s South Asia Advocacy officer, told Mizzima.

He said, during their trip, they were able to meet victims of rape, religious discrimination and people whose land were confiscated by the army.

During the trip, from the end of April to the first week of May, 2009, the CSW team was also able to meet the Kachin Independent Organization, an armed rebel group fighting for self-determination but which has a ceasefire pact with the junta.

Rogers, who was the team leader visiting Burma, said they have seen ethnic Kachin people living under constant fear, especially women, as they fall easy prey to Burmese soldiers and no one dares to intervene as they are scared of the Burmese soldiers.

“Despite the ceasefire, human rights violations continue and people suffer,” said Rogers, referring to the more than one decade old ceasefire agreement between the KIO and the Burmese junta.

The KIO in 1994 entered into a ceasefire agreement with the ruling junta on grounds that continued war had devastated the people. But their expectations were belied because the pact turned out to be worse than the people expected as the junta’s army slowly expanded in the areas, which were earlier controlled by the rebel group.

The KIO was officially banned from making fresh recruitments.

During their visit, Rogers said, he met a 21-year old Bible school student, who narrated her experience of being raped by two Burmese soldiers, and how she is left helpless.

The girl apparently did not get any compensation and the perpetrator went unpunished.

“Every woman should be careful. My experience is an example for other girls … I want justice to be done,” the CSW quoted the girl as saying in its press release on May 22.

The girl did file a case at three different military courts and requested for investigations but there hasn’t been any action or compensation except 100,000 Kyats she received for medical care, a rice bag and cooking oil, she said.

“Many rape cases in Kachin State go unreported because victims are afraid and to ashamed to report it. There are many more cases we don’t know about,” said Rogers.

“No women are safe in Kachin State,” he added.

Rogers said, even the KIO, cannot provide protection to their people except within their controlled areas, said Rogers.

In July last year, Burmese soldiers reportedly raped and murdered a 15 year old girl, Nhkum Hkawn Din, from the Nam Sai villiage in Kachin State but the army closed the case after paying the girl’s parents of 500,000 Kyats (US$ 500) as compensation and took no action against the accused soldiers.

Awng Wa, Chairman of the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG), which is working inside Burma said, human rights abuses such as rape, torture, forced labour and land confiscation are common and are not strange in Kachin State.

“You can hear of rape cases everywhere, if there is a military camp set up. But no one dares to complain because they are afraid that it could create a backlash with more repression,” said Awng Wa.

“Instead of getting support or action, the authorities usually punish the complainants. So many cases have gone under reported,” he added.

He said, before the ceasefire between the military government and the Kachin Independent Organization and its armed wing the Kachin Independent Army(KIO/A), which represent the Kachin people, there were human rights violations of the highest order within the ethnic people and after ceasefire abuses continue.

“Land confiscation and forced labour are common too,” said Awng Wa. He said, forced labour, however, changes during war into use of porters but during peace, people have been forced to cultivate physic nut trees.

The report also talks about the plight of Chin refugees. Rogers, who had also visited Malaysia and met Chin refugees, said life of Chin refugees is not favourable as they live and work in deplorable conditions.

“The situation in Northern and Western Burma of Kachin and Chin State, have gone unknown and are ignored by many in the world,” said Rogers.

“It is time that their voices were heard, and that the international community responded to the political, social, humanitarian and environmental disaster in northern and western Burma,” said Rogers in the press statement.

“The international community needs to know that the ceasefire areas are not really in peace. People in ceasefire areas are really suffering seriously,” Rogers told Mizzima.


Suu Kyi’s trial will not end simply: Win Tin

by Mungpi
Monday, 25 May 2009 22:57

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Pro-democracy leader Aung San Su Kyi on Tuesday will be produced before the special court in Insein jail and will be asked to give her testimony, in a trial, where she has been charged for breaching her detention law, her lawyer said.

Nyan Win, one of the defence counsels, said the court on Monday concluded the hearing of prosecution witnesses, as the prosecution withdrew nine witnesses, and has fixed Tuesday for the accused, Aung San Suu Kyi, to give her testimony.

“Tomorrow, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will give her testimony to the court and we will also submit a list of witnesses as defence counsels. We have primarily selected Win Tin, Tin Oo, Kyi Win and Daw Khin Moe Moe as witnesses for the accused,” said Nyan Win, adding that the list could expand or even be reduced depending on the situation.

Burma’s democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been accused of breaching her detention law by accepting an uninvited American man, who allegedly swam across the Innya Lake and entered her house.

She was charged under section 22 of the penal code of Burma’s 1974 constitution, but her lawyer said, the authorities are using conflicting laws, as his understanding was that the 1974 constitution has been nullified by the junta’s 2008 constitution.

In order to clarify his doubts, when lawyer Nyan Win asked the prosecutor whether Burma is using a dual constitution, the judge overruled the questions saying it was irrelevant.

“Yes, I did ask the question as I am confused whether we have two constitutions but the judge overruled the question,” Nyan Win told Mizzima.

Speedy trial

Nyan Win said, the case seems to be moving at a fast pace and that he fears the regime wants to end it as quickly as possible and sentence Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since the first court hearing on May 18, the trial has been conducted on a day-to-day basis. And by the sixth-day of the trial, the court concluded the hearing of prosecution witnesses.

Nyan Win earlier told Mizzima that the trial is likely to take about two to three months, but on Monday he said his predictions were likely to be wrong.

Win Tin, veteran journalist and central committee member of the NLD, said the junta wants to conclude everything as quickly as possible and sentence Aung San Suu Kyi to another five years.

“It is quite obvious that the junta is doing things as fast as possible because they want to finish the trial and sentence her to another five years, if not more,” Win Tin told Mizzima.

The junta’s ploy is to put the Nobel Peace Laureate away from the public scene before the ensuing 2010 elections.

Ineffective International outcry

The trial against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has attracted outbursts by several governments across the world and even made the United Nations Security Council issue a press statement. But Win Tin, a veteran journalists and central committee member of the NLD said nothing much will change because of this.

He said the Burmese junta does have a fair understanding that there will be outbursts which are rhetorical in nature by the international community.

“But this is well-planned. And the government will not make a move unless they know where the end would be,” he said.

He said it is impossible for the junta not to notice Mr. John William Yettaw swimming across the Innya Lake and entering Aung San Suu Kyi’s house. And since this is his second time, it is only obvious that the junta had planned the ploy.

Following the charges against Burma’s democracy icon and her trial, the international community including the UN and the Security Council issued statements of condemnation and urged the junta to immediately release her.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, last week, indicated that he wished to pay a visit to Burma as soon as possible to talk to the military junta on the trial against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi but he has not mentioned how soon he can make the visit.

While welcoming the interests of the international community on Burma, Win Tin said, Ban Ki-moon’s visit itself will not have much effect as the junta is determined.

Critics, meanwhile, said the international community has been making rhetorical condemnation of the junta’s actions, but nothing much really has changed as the outbursts are rarely turned into action.

On Monday, European and Asian foreign ministers kicked-off a two-day meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. Reports, quoting diplomats, suggest that the Burmese issue is likely to be widely discussed among the ministers at the sidelines of the meeting.

But on Monday, Burma rejected a statement issued by Thailand as the chair of the 10-nations grouping of Association of Southeast Asian Nations on the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi saying it is against the tradition of the grouping.

Public Anger

However, Win Tin said, the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi has ingited public anger and it would not be wise for the government to underestimate the level of peoples’ anger.

“As I sit in front of the Insein Bazaar everyday of the trial, I have seen the peoples’ anger, particularly among the youth. They have asked me what they should do? Or would they be sitting all day without taking any action?” he asked.

While he said he cannot definitely tell what might happen, but if the junta sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi, it would really bring out the anger in the people.

“This time, I am sure, it will not be just another story of the junta’s injustice, because the level of anger among the people is high. And the junta cannot expect the people to simply disperse, after they sentence Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It will not be as simple as just drawing the curtain,” he added.


News updates on 6th day of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial

Aung San Suu Kyi to testify in court on Tuesday
Monday, 25 May 2009 20:36

Nyan Win, one of the defence counsels of Aung San Suu Kyi, said the pro-democracy leader will give her testimony on Tuesday, as the court had concluded the hearing of prosecution witnesses on Monday.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be giving her testimony on Monday, and we plan to submit a list of witnesses to the court,” Nyan Win said.

Among the list of defence witnesses will be veteran journalist Win Tin, the National League for Democracy’s vice-chairman Tin Oo, who is also currently under detention, Kyi Win, and Daw Khin Moe Moe, Nyan Win added.

On Monday, defence counsels crossed examined five prosecution witnesses but since the prosecution withdrew another nine witnesses, there is no more prosecution witness left to be examined, he added.


Court adjourns, next hearing fixed for May 26
Monday, 25 May 2009 18:31

The sixth day of the trial has adjourned after defense counsels cross examined five prosecution witnesses.

The trial, which began at ten in the morning on Monday, adjourned at about 4 p.m. (local time).

The court, having accepted the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, announced it concluded examining prosecution witnesses on Monday and that it would begin to hear from defense witnesses on Tuesday.

Sources said Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers have submitted four witnesses and on Tuesday the first witness, veteran journalist Win Tin, will appear before the court. The identities of the other three defense witnesses remain undisclosed.


Authorities to allow journalists inside court
Monday, 25 May 2009 16:49

Burmese authorities will allow local journalists to witness the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a special court in Insein Prison.

It will be the second time authorities allow a limited number of domestic journalists, reporting for both the local and international media, into the courtroom. The closed-door proceedings had been criticized by the Burmese opposition as well as the international community.

But with no official invitations sent to local journals and news agencies, journalists said they cannot be sure of being allowed in, instead “hoping and waiting”.

Sources said altogether 20 journalists will be allowed in on Tuesday to witness the trial, though it is still unclear how the journalists will be selected.

On Wednesday, May 20, authorities allowed 10 journalists – five reporters for local journals and five working for foreign media groups – to witness the court proceedings. The ten in question were selected through a lucky draw.


Authorities monitoring undercover reporters
Monday, 25 May 2009 14:41

In order to keep a check on informers and undercover correspondents, who are providing information to media groups in exile, authorities at the telecommunication department are checking the incoming and outgoing calls of mobile phones, particularly the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) phones, an insider told Mizzima.

The authorities are reportedly strictly monitoringon mobile phones used within two miles of the Insein prison, where the trial of pro-democracy leader is on. The source also said the monitoring will continue until the court is adjourned for the day.


Situation outside Insein prison
Monday, 25 May 2009 13:12

A large number of supporters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, currently facing trial inside the notorious Insein prison court, has flocked near the Insien prison in a show of solidarity on Monday, according to a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Pu Cin Sian Thang, chairman of the Zomi National Congress (ZNC) and NLD central committee member Win Tin also reportedly came to the Insein prison in a show of solidarity but later left as they have party meetings.

Similarly, Naw Ohn Hla and women from Rangoon and Mandalay have also arrived near the Insein prison to “show solidarity” with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and are waiting near the prison, where the road has been blocked.

Lawyers of Aung San Suu Kyi were seen entering the Insein prison at about 10 a.m (local time), as the court is about to convene the sixth-day of hearing against Aung San Suu Kyi, where her defence councils are to cross examine witnesses.

Though the prosecution has submitted 23 witnesses, it does not include the names of security officials, who are guarding the residence of Aung San Suu Kyi.


Burma rejects Asean statement
Monday, 25 May 2009 13:10

Burma on Monday rejected Asean’s statement on the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying the statement violates the traditional practise of the grouping.

The regime's response, carried in the official newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar, on Monday said, charging and conducting a trial against Aung San Suu Kyi is an internal affair of Burma and the statement of Thailand issued as the alternative chairman of Asean is against the principles of the grouping’s charter and is tantamount to interfering in the internal affairs of Burma.

The statement said, “Such an act may cause an undesirable tradition in ASEAN.”

“Whatsoever it may be, this statement issued by the Alternate ASEAN Chairman, which is not in conformity with ASEAN practice, incorrect in facts, interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar [Burma] is strongly rejected by Myanmar[Burma],”the statement added.

Bomb found on Pyinmana train

by Mizzima News
Monday, 25 May 2009 11:02

Pyinmana - A time bomb was found today on a passenger train here scheduled to leave at 5 am for Rangoon yesterday, said a local newsman based in Pyinmana.

“The home-made explosive was found by an electrician, who was on duty to check the lights in the train,” the newsman quoted an eyewitness as saying.

He said the local security force defused the bomb.
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rumours of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release spreads in Rangoon

by Mizzima News
Saturday, 24 May 2008 15:32

New Delhi - Rumours are doing the rounds in Rangoon that Burma's detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was released today from house arrest.

Nyan Win, spokesperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi's party, said, "We also heard that she [Aung San Suu Kyi] has been released, but we cannot confirm the information as yet."

While the information cannot be independently verified, the rumours timed with Aung San Suu Kyi's completion of five years of her latest incarceration on Saturday.

"It might only be rumors, because nothing is confirmed as yet," Nyan Win said.

Meanwhile, a source in Rangoon said the pro-democracy leader was taken by the authorities this morning for a tour to Laputta town in the Irrawaddy division to inspect the devastation caused by the deathly Cyclone Nargis.

But contrary to the information, diplomatic sources in Rangoon brush-off the information as false, saying Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been spotted at her lakeside villa in Rangoon.

Local Residents in Laputta, contacted by Mizzima also said they have not seen the Burmese pro-democracy leader coming to their town nor heard of her possible coming.

Burma's Foreign Minister Nyan Win in a press conference earlier indicated that the detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San is unlikely to be release until the junta successfully conducts its planned election in 2010.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent more than 12 of the past 18 years, was last arrested in May 2003 after junta-backed thugs attacked her motorcade during a political tour in central Burma.

But at mid-night on May 24, Saturday, she will complete five years of continuous house arrest. An according to Burma's State Protection Law 1975, the house arrest period of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be extended.

The law says that a person in Burma who is deemed a 'threat to the sovereignty and security of the State and the peace of the people' can be detained for up to a maximum of five years through a restrictive order, but only renewable one year at a time.

However, sources in Rangoon said, there have been no significant movements near Aung San Suu Kyi's resident in Rangoon's University Avenue that could signal any kind of changes or security guards leaving the place.
Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pakistan protests Myanmar’s arrest of Suu Kyi

Pakistan protests Myanmar’s arrest of Suu Kyi
Saturday, 23 May 2009 23:18

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday called the ambassador of Myanmar to the Foreign Office (FO) and protested the arrest and trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “It was conveyed to the ambassador that Pakistan was deeply concerned about this unfortunate development and would urge the government of Myanmar to consider reviewing its decision and releasing Ms Aung San Suu Kyi immediately,” the FO said in a statement. staff report

Security withdrawn from Suu Kyi’s house
Saturday, 23 May 2009 13:18

New Delhi - Burmese military junta authorities in Rangoon have withdrawn the security cordon and barricades from around the residence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on University Avenue in Rangoon’s Bahan Township.

The heavily guarded street in front of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, No. 54/56, in Shwedaunggya ward of Bahan Township is bereft of any security as of Saturday morning.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently facing trial in the Insein prison precincts, was transferred from her residence on May 14 and kept in the notorious Insein prison.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Junta denies framing case against Suu Kyi

by Mizzima News
Friday, 22 May 2009 15:26

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burma's Foreign Minister, Nyan Win, has denied allegations that the regime has framed its case against Aung San Suu Kyi, arguing instead that it was the synchronized foul play of the opposition forces that has resulted in the current trial.

"We are trying to restore constructive engagement with the outside world, including the U.S., Japan and E.U. At this crucial time, some opposition forces at home and abroad might try to sabotage and derail this work of constructive engagement with the international community with an intention of bringing back international pressure on Myanmar [Burma]. This [the situation surrounding the trial] may be the synchronized foul play of these elements," the state-run New Light of Myanmar reported today in citing the Foreign Minister.

It was the junta's first public announcement denying allegations of framing the case against Aung San Suu Kyi with the intention of prolonging her detention and barring her from contesting the upcoming 2010 election.

Additionally, according to the paper, Nyan Win and his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Hiro Fumi Nakasone, talked over the phone on May 18th, the first day of Aung San Suu Kyi's court hearing.

The paper reported that the Japanese Foreign Minister expressed his worries over Aung San Suu Kyi's trial, saying he was concerned over the successful holding of the 2010 general election and the negative effect on the junta's image that this case may have in the international community.

"Though it is the judicial process of Burma, we urge you to take into consideration the opinions of the international community and to take action in a more appropriate way," Nakasone reportedly told Nyan Win according to the state-run daily. "Moreover, it is a crucial time for the transition to democracy in Burma, so that this democratization process should be made respectable to the international community too".

Aung San Suu Kyi’s present term of house arrest is set to expire on May 27th, after six consecutive years of detention, and cannot again be extended according to existing Burmese law.

The New Light of Myanmar added that Nyan Win gave his assurances that the trial would be conducted within the framework of the law.


UWSA turns down junta’s ‘Border Guard” proposal

by Solomon
Friday, 22 May 2009 18:12

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The United Wa State Army, one of Burma’s strongest ethnic armed rebel groups, which had a ceasefire agreement with the ruling junta, has said they will not reform their army, as suggested by the junta, but would continue with their struggle.

An official of the UWSA, who is not authorized to speak to the press, on condition of anonymity told Mizzima, on Friday, that the decision to keep their Army under their control came after a meeting on May 19.

“We have decided that we cannot allow our army to be under the Junta’s control, because it is impossible for us. All the members rejected the idea,” the official said.

The decision came after Burma’s ruling junta in late April, proposed to the UWSA along with several other ceasefire armed groups to hand over the administration of their Army.

Junta’s head of Military Affairs Security (MAS) Lt-Gen Ye Myint on April 28 met a delegation of the UWSA in Tang Yan in eastern Shan State. He also met other groups, including Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), the Myanmar National Democratic Allied Army (MNDAA) and the National Democratic Allied Army (NDAA).

Similarly, Commander of the Northern Military Command, Maj-Gen Soe Win also met the Kachin Independent Organization/Army (KIO/A) and New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) on the same issue in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state in northern Burma.

During the meeting, the Junta’s officials proposed that the ceasefire groups should turn their army into a ‘Border Guard’ force and hand over the administration of their Army to them. The junta’s guidelines for the proposed Border Guard would reduce the number of soldiers in a battalion to 326, out of which 30, would be Burmese soldiers.

Even as the junta’s proposal seems to have softened from what was earlier rumoured as disarming the ceasefire groups, the UWSA said they could not accept the proposal and the group would continue managing their own army.

However, the official said they had not made any official reply to the junta and were planning to inform them soon.

“We are preparing to send an official letter to them [junta] about our decision,” he said.

The official added that they had no problems with changing their group’s name but reforming the army structure was impossible, as it would prove meaningless after their decades’ long struggle.

The UWSA had signed a ceasefire agreement with the junta in 1989 and in recent years has faced increasing pressure from the junta, which has pressurized them to give up armed struggle.

“We are expecting more pressure from the junta after our decision, nobody wants to fight, we hope we can solve our differences peacefully,” the official said.

Meanwhile, another major ceasefire group, the KIO said they had met among themselves and with the people in Laiza town, a Sino-Burmese border town, under KIO control, from May 11 to 14 and again met the military junta on May 20-21, but had not yet decided on the junta’s proposal.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Sino-Burmese border based analyst said, most ceasefire groups are likely to reject the junta’s proposal of reforming their army.

“UWSA rejected it as it is unacceptable to them and it is so for many other groups. But there may be some groups, which might want to accept it,” said Aung Kyaw Zaw.

“The junta might have already known that most groups would reject their proposal, but they wanted to try their luck to see if there were any groups that would accept it,” he added.

He said a few armed groups like the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), a splinter group of the Karen National Union (KNU), which have been closely following the junta’s orders, might accept the proposal.

Though there might be pressure from the junta on the armed groups, it is unlikely to turn into fresh hostility, as the junta wants to concentrate on their proposed elections of 2010.


Two arrested with fake Burmese currency

by Phanida
Friday, 22 May 2009 18:28

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two persons were arrested by the police in Tachileik for being in possession of Kyat 1,000 denomination counterfeit currency notes.

The police arrested Sai Khun Nwan and Sai San Shwe hailing from Seinwi Township, Northern Shan State with 2,000 pieces of Kyat 1,000 denomination counterfeit currency notes while they were staying in Sandarlin guesthouse in Wankaung Ward, Tachileik town across the Thai-Burma border at about midnight on May 18.

The editor of the Thai based SHAN news agency Khun Sai said that the counterfeit currency notes were found while the police were checking the guesthouses in the town. “The quality of the counterfeit currency is poor,” he added.

Sai Khun Nwan stays in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand and the counterfeit notes were believed to have been produced in Thailand.

A police officer from Tachileik police station confirmed the arrest of the two suspects. They are being held in police custody at the Tachileik police station.


News updates on 5th day of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial

Aung San Suu Kyi to receive 2009 Gandhi award
Friday, 22 May 2009 22:05

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.


Kim Dae Jung donates US $ 10,000 for Suu Ky
Friday, 22 May 2009 20:41

Former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung on Friday donated US $ 10,000 to be used for Aung San Suu Kyi’s political cause during a meeting with Burmese members of Parliament and members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in exile at his home in Seoul, the Korean Times reported.

Kim invited the Burmese MPs and members of the Korean Chapter of the NLD-Liberated Area to his house and made the donation, the report said.


Court accepts charges against Suu Kyi
Friday, 22 May 2009 20:28

The special court in Insein prison on Friday accepted the charges against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused of breaching her detention law.

The court at about 4:45 p.m. (local time) on Friday, after takeing a 45-minute break, declared that the case has been accepted.

Two witnesses were produced and crossed examined on Friday. The court announced that the next hearing is to be held on Monday, May 25.


Court adjourns for the day
Friday, 22 May 2009 19:28

Lawyers of Aung San Suu Kyi were seen coming out of Insein prison, where her trial is being conducted. Observers said, Friday’s hearing, the fifth day of the trial, took much longer than any other day.


Irrawaddy NLD youths condemn Suu Kyi's trial
Friday, 22 May 2009 19:25

The National League for Democracy youths in Irrawaddy Division on Friday condemned the trial of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi saying it lacks openness.

In a statement, the youths described Aung San Suu Kyi as a person who needs to play an important role in the national reconciliation process and called on the junta to immediately release her.


Interview with Naw Ohn Hla
Friday, 22 May 2009 16:03

A strong supporter of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Naw Ohn Hla, regularly leads a prayer team to Shwe Dagon Pagoda on Tuesday to pray for her release . She has been regularly waiting outside of the Insein prison, since Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial began on Monday.

Naw Ohn Hla, a former NLD member, in relation to the case expressed her view on the restrictions on the media in covering the case.

“The charge itself is unlawful. The blame is on the government. Though they may write anything in their newspaper, we all understand that they are the ones responsibile. Because all the newspapers and journals only reflect their policy and since they are only allowed to carry whatever the government wants. It is like a propaganda. Because there is no freedom of press and the reports carried in the papers are not like news. And that is because reporters cannot write what they want to write. Since all publications have to go through censorship board, they can filter it.”

“With Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s case, everybody believes that it is the government’s ploy. And allowing foreign diplomats into the court is also understood to be a way to ease international pressure.”

“Everybody who came today were soaked in the rain. Currently there are about 300 to 400 people getting wet in the rain.”


Excerpts from junta-run newspaper on Thursday’s trial
Friday, 22 May 2009 15:50

Burma’s state-run newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar on Friday carried a report of the court hearing of the fourth day of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial on Thursday. A summary of the witnesses reported in the paper is as folows:

During the hearing, witness Police Major Aung Htut Kyaw, in charge of the computer section of the overseas division, produced a Canon camera and six memory cards, containing 331 photographs and one video file filmed by Mr. John William Yettaw himself in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, the paper said.

“The video file and photographs showed flippers, different stages of using the flippers, Mr John William Yettaw trying them on, Mr John William Yettaw in disguise, in the downstairs sitting-room of the house and pictures there, and his photographs taken by himself on his arrival at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house at night. Police Major Aung Htut Kyaw showed the photographs with the help of a computer,” the paper said.

“In the video file, Mr. John William Yettaw said that he was in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house and asked for her permission to take her photographs and to upload them on the YouTube website; that he thought she refused because she was frightened; that he had caused her a lot of trouble on 30 November 2008; that he left his family behind; that he believed God was with him and protects him; that he admired Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; that he did not blame her for not allowing him to take her photographs; that she would have to face lots of hardships in future; that he prayed that he might be able to help her; that he spent the previous night at the house; that today was 6 May; that he had been hoping the whole night to go back to Thailand; that he felt delighted and proud of staying there,” the paper said.

Testimony of witness Police Captain Tin Zaw Tun :

The paper said witness Police Captain Tin Zaw Tun testified that he had asked Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to put on a woman’s dress and took photographs of her. He was crossed examined by Nyan Win, counsel of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Police Captain Tin Zaw Tun said he had arrived in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence on May 7, 7:20 a.m. (local time) to seize the items that John William Yettaw had left and to investigate his entry into the house. He asked Daw Khin Khin Win and Daw Win Ma Ma, the two women who live with Aung San Suu Kyi, to wear chadors and took photographs.

In response to John William Yettaw’s lawyer Khin Maung Oo, Tin Zaw Tun said that the reason he could say the two sets of clothes were the chadors of Muslim women was that they were usually worn by Muslim women; and that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the chadors were just given to her as a present, the paper said.

The paper also said Hla Myo Myint, lawyer of Daw Khin Khin Win and Daw Win Ma Ma, crossed examined Tin Zaw Tun on the security situation in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence. Though it mentioned that separate units take responsibility for the main security of the area, it was not clear how it actually works.


Observer’s view on the situation near Insein prison
Friday, 22 May 2009 13:57

“The defense counsels have entered the prison at 10 a.m. I do not see anyone coming from the US embassy. But security is tight. There are plainclothes security officials and police vehicles. There are also prison vans. It is still raining. It rained earlier this morning and it is raining again.”

“Women's groups of the NLD have also come. Rangoon division NLD members have also joined in. And there are a lot of youths too.”

“U Win Tin has been here all morning. He just left a while ago. He said he has a meeting. I am not sure if he will come back. The meeting could be long.”


Burmese Consul posts denigrating comment on Suu Kyi
Friday, 22 May 2009 13:11

The Burmese Consul General in Hong Kong on Friday posted a denigrating online message suggesting that the US citizen caught visiting Aung San Suu Kyi might have been her “boy friend”.

The message, titled ‘Secret Agent or “Boy friend”?’ posted on the consulate’s website and signed by the Consul General for Hong Kong and Macau SAR said, they have received a number of inquiries about an American man, who swam across Innya Lake and visited Aung San Suu Kyi.

In reply to the queries, the message said, “Dear Friends, Frankly, we have no idea whether he is either a secret agent or her boy friend at this moment. We shall try to learn it and tell you later.”

The Burmese Consul-General in Hong Kong earlier in January have also circulated a mocking message among diplomats on the issue of Rohingya boatpeople calling them “Ugly as Ogres” and rejecting their nationalities as Burmese.


Interview with Aye Thar Aung
Friday, 22 May 2009 12:57

“I have arrived near the Insein prison where the security has put up barricades. Right now I am standing in front of the Insein Bazaar, and I think I am about 50 metres from the entrance to the prison. The court is about another 50 metres from the entrance.”

“U Win Tin has left, as he has a meeting. There are several other people along with me. I arrived here at about 11 a.m (local time).”

“People just come here and sit and wait to show their solidarity. There are about three police vehicles that I can see. They are parked on the other side of the road. There is also a prison van. Security personnel are seen around the Insein Bazaar.”


Aye Thar Aung, Secretary of CRPP arrives outside Insein jail
Friday, 22 May 2009 12:29

An observer said, Aye Thar Aung, Secretary of the Committee Representing Peoples’ Parliament, an alliance of several political parties, arrived in front of Insein Bazaar to show solidarity to Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently facing trial for the fifth-day in a court in Insein jail.

It has been raining Incessantly in Rangoon, and security has been beefed up around the Insein prison. There are about four police vehicles along with three prison vans stationed outside, the observer said.


UNESCO writes to Snr. Gen Than Shwe on Suu Kyi’s trial
Friday, 22 May 2009 12:06

The head of UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on May 20 sent a letter to Burmese Army Chief Snr. Gen Than Shwe urging him to release Aung San Suu Kyi unconditionally.

The UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, in his letter, said the charges and trial against Aung San Suu Kyi in Insein prison court are unacceptable.

Matsuura underscored the point that Aung San Suu Kyi has to play a very important role in Burma’s national reconciliation process.

Matsuura also expressed his concern over the trial that Aung San Suu Kyi stands weeks before her house arrest term expires.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a recipient of the 2002 UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.


Fire breaks out in San Chuang
Friday, 22 May 2009 11:28

A fire broke out for a brief period in a fuel shop in Rangoon’s San Chuang Township on Friday morning. The fire was noticed at about 9:30 a.m. (local time) and started from a candle lit over a can of tar. Neighbours rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire, which burnt for about 15 minutes.


Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma soon
Friday, 22 May 2009 11:25

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he will visit Burma as soon as possible to press for the release of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently facing trial, and other political prisoners.

Ban, in an interview with CNN, said “I am deeply concerned about what has been happening in Myanmar [Burma] in terms of democratization and I am going to urge the junta again to release political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.”


Do you know Yettaw?
Friday, 22 May 2009 11:23

John William Yettaw, an American citizen, visited the residence of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi just weeks before she was about to complet six years of house arrest.

Following Yettaw’s visit, the Burmese military regime filed a lawsuit against Aung San Suu Kyi, charging her for violating her detention law by receiving a guest and providing him meals. Friday is the fifth day of her trial, which is being held in a special court inside the notorious Insein prison behind closed doors.

However, Yettaw's details, a character in the world famous case, is little known to the people. According to news reports Yettaw is said to be writing a ‘faith-based’ book on heroism and he had travelled earlier to Thailand and met some opposition groups who are supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 53-year old American is also said to have arrived in Rangoon on May 2, and the following day made makeshift flippers from a pair of sandals and used them and floating aids he mad, to swim one mile across Innya Lake to reach Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside home.

When he arrived he was asked to leave but he claimed that he was too exhausted from the swim and ended up sleeping on the ground floor of the house. He apparently also stayed a second night and then swam back across the lake, but was arrested by authorities on his way back.

The incident occurred at a time when Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest term was about to expire, according to the junta’s accepted law.

Reports said Yettaw is a resident of Falcon, Missouri in the United States.

If you have personally met him earlier or known him, we would appreciate it if you send us more information about him in the following email addresses –,