Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Concluding arguments of Suu Kyi's trial continue

by Mungpi
Monday, 27 July 2009 14:50

New Delhi (mizzima)- The special court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison on Monday resumed hearing of the concluding arguments on the trial of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, after the court ran out of time on Friday.

The closing arguments on Monday began at about 10 a.m. (local time). Several foreign diplomats including from the United Kingdom and the United States were allowed into the court to hear the final arguments of the trial, which began on May 18.

Lawyers of Aung San Suu Kyi’s two live-in party mates – Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma – and John William Yettaw, the American man, who swam across a lake and entered Aung San Suu Kyi’s house uninvited and stayed for two days in early May, along with prosecution lawyers on Monday presented their final argument.

The final arguments for Aung San Suu Kyi were presented by her lawyers on Friday.

Lawyers of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been charged for flouting her detention law, said the court is unlikely to pronounce a verdict on Monday. It might possibly take two to three weeks, they added.

Though critics and observers have dismissed the case as a trumped-up one by the military rulers of Burma and feel it is being used as a pretext to continue detaining her, most believe she would be convicted by the court, which merely executes commands by the military.

On Sunday, the junta, in its mouthpiece newspaper, the New Light of Myanmar, rejected criticism against its proposed elections in 2010 and the trial of Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate.

A commentary run in the newspaper, which often reflects the government’s views, accused US secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of interfering in the affairs of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Burma is a member, for influencing members to press for more democratic reforms in military-ruled country.

Foreign Ministers attending the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) last week told Burma that unless political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi are released, the 2010 election would lack credibility.

Clinton in particular said if the junta releases Aung San Suu Kyi, US would like to expand its relationship with the country including opening up investment opportunities.

But the commentary of the junta’s mouthpiece said, “Demanding the release of Daw Suu Kyi means showing reckless disregard for the law.”

“It amounts to interfering in the affairs of the ASEAN,” said the commentary, adding “If ASEAN complies with the instruction of U.S. Secretary of State, ASEAN will become the follower of United States.”

“The court will hand down a reasonable term to her if she is found guilty, and it will release her if she is found not guilty,” the paper added.

Ohn Kyaing, one of the spokespersons for Aung San Suu Kyi’s party – National League for Democracy, on Monday said, “Looking at the tone of the newspaper’s report, I personally think the junta is determined to sentence Aung San Suu Kyi.”

But he said, “If the junta sentences her, it will greatly enrage the people of Burma as she is the only ray of hope for change.”