Saturday, January 23, 2010

Final arguments heard in Burmese-American’s trial

Friday, 22 January 2010 21:39 Mungpi

New Delhi (Mizzima) - The final arguments by all lawyers in the trial against Burmese-born American citizen, Kyaw Zaw Lwin (aka) Nyi Nyi Aung was heard by a special court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison on Friday.

Nyan Win, one of the defence lawyers of the American citizen said “Today we submitted our final arguments. The verdict will be given on January 27.”

Arrested on September 3, 2009, Nyi Nyi Aung is facing trial on charges of fraud, forgery, illegal possession of foreign currency and charges under the Immigration Act.

However, his international counsel in New York, Beth Schwanke earlier told Mizzima that the charges were baseless and were cooked up to arrest and sentence her client as he is a well known pro-democracy activist, advocating democracy and human rights in Burma.

The Burmese-American was a student activist, involved in the nation-wide pro-democracy uprising in 1988. He was forced to flee to neighbouring Thailand in the wake of the military’s brutal crackdown on protesters.

Later, he migrated to Maryland in United States, where he was naturalized as a citizen.

Burma’s state-run media, the New Light of Myanmar, however, accused him of having entered the country secretly in disguise eight times. He was also accused of having maintained contacts with underground activists, planning to instigate public unrest.

However, the charge-sheet against him in court does not include any of the newspaper’s accusations but merely accuses Nyi Nyi Aung of using a fake Burmese national identity card, lying to the immigration, and possessing foreign currency.

Schwanke denied the first two charges and said Nyi Nyi Aung was arrested as he stepped out of the Bangkok-Rangoon Thai Airways International (TG) flight, even before he could approach the custom’s desk to declare his foreign currency.

“We don’t know what will be the outcome of the trial. We will have to wait and see on January 27. The court will decide what we will be doing next,” Nyan Win said.

Supreme Court advocates, Nyan Win and Kyi Win, who jointly defended detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi last year, teamed-up to defend the Burmese-American at the Southern District Court.