Friday, 26 June 2009 18:41
New Delhi (mizzima) – The special court in Insein Prison on Friday adjourned the hearing of the testimony of a second defense witness in the trial against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to July 3rd, as the country’s High Court has yet to rule on an appeal to allow the remaining two defense witnesses.
Nyan Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team, said the court on Friday convened at about 10 a.m. (local time) and adjourned about thirty minutes later with the judge scheduling the testimony of Khin Moh Moh, the second defense witness, for July 3rd.
“Since the decision from the High Court has not yet been announced, the lower court cannot go ahead with the case,” Nyan Win iterated.
Earlier in the week, the High Court heard arguments by defense lawyers to allow the remaining two defense witnesses – Tin Oo, Vice-Chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), and Win Tin, a veteran journalist and Central Executive Committee member of the NLD – to take the stand. Continue reading “Court adjourns Suu Kyi’s trial to July 3”
Ashin Gambira’s prison term reduced by five years
Friday, 26 June 2009 16:17
Chiang Mai (mizzima) – Monk Ashin Gambira, arrested and sentenced to 68 years in prison for his lead role in anti-junta protests in September 2007 has had his prison term reduced by five years by a district court in Insein prison on Thursday.
The western district court reduced the sentence of Gambira, leader of the All Burma Buddhist Monks Association by five years. He was charged under the Electronics Act. The reverend monk, who was charged on 16 counts, will now have to serve 63 years in prison.
The Electronics Act 33 (a) stipulates that using the internet without the permission of the authorities is an offence and is punishable. The law became a tool for the authorities to sentence the reverend monk, who took a lead role in the September 2007 monk-led protests.
Lawyers of the monk, who is 29, and is currently detained in a prison in Kalemyo in Sagaing division, have appealed to the district court. The court said the appeals were late and rejected appeals for seven counts.
The legal counsels have now, submitted appeals on the other nine counts, and the court has scheduled a session on June 29.
Ashin Gambira, however, denied appealing but the lawyers have been acting on the request of his parents.
Authorities have also arrested the monk’s elder brother Aung Kyaw Kyaw and sentenced him to 14 years in prison. He is currently detained in Tuaggyi prison in Shan state. Similarly, his younger brother Aung Ko Ko Lwin and brother-in-law Moe Htet Lian were also arrested and sentenced to five years each and are respectively in Kyuak Pyu prison in Arakan state and Moulmein prison in Mon state.
June 26, 2009
The international community has been paying serious attention to the trial against Burma prodemocracy
leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but the military regime’s State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) has tried to change that attention by attacking the Karen National Union (KNU)
and the Karen people.
This is an old strategy the SPDC has played for several years. When the international community,
including ASEAN and Thailand, condemned the Burmese government for the arrest of Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, the SPDC wanted to show their resentment of the international community.
They then attacked the KNU and Karen people to distract from the arrest, and to factionalize the KNU
community. Human rights violations are again being committed by SPDC troops and thousands of refugees
flee to Thailand.
The arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the attack against the Karen people in eastern Burma shows
that the SPDC does not really want to proceed with ‘national reconciliation’. They totally rejected the international
community and oppositions’ proposal for political dialogue, yet still move forward with their 7 point ‘road-map’
to a ‘more disciplined democracy’.
Even after 2010 elections, the political and armed conflict in Burma will continued and many human
rights and refugees displacement problems will remain unsolved. Without political reconciliation in Burma,
the countries problems will remain unsolved and will continue to require international support.
On Sri Lanka, UK Says IMF Loan’s Not Moving, UN Silent Amid Claims of Myanmar
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, June 25 — Two weeks after the Sri Lankan government grabbed up two UN staffers, using unmarked vehicles, the UN in New York still had nothing to say. Inner City Press asked on June 25, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson said, “I still don’t have anything.” Video here, from Minute 15:18.
Later on June 25, Inner City Press ran after UK minister Lord Mark Malloch Brown to ask if he was the one working on Sri Lanka for his government. “I have,” he said. Inner City Press asked, what about Sri Lanka’s application for a $1.9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, on which Malloch Brown’s boss David Miliband had spoken – had the thinking changed?
“Thinking for what?” Malloch Brown asked.”The IMF loan has not gone through.” Inner City Press mentioned that the U.S. has changed its tune. continue
The following is a condensed version of what appears in Shan Drug Watch, Issue # 2, published today to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – Editor
Ten Years After
June 26 marks ten years since the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) embarked on its 15-year plan to eradicate the cultivation and production of all drugs in Burma by 2014.
Over the last 10 years, the ruling Burmese junta has claimed the apprehension of hundreds of drug dealers, the confiscation of thousands of kilos of opium and heroin, and the destruction of thousands of hectares of poppy fields. The SPDC also say that there has been significant reduction in opiate production in Burma since the industry peaked in the country in the mid-1990s.
The picture might be one of remarkable success, but information revealed through S.H.A.N’s sources paints a very different picture.
According to S.H.A.N’s information, during the past decade the junta has not arrested major suppliers or traffickers as claimed, but mostly low-level dealers and users. SPDC might have suppressed cultivation in 13 targeted townships, but has failed in some 30 others, and, worryingly, poppy cultivation and production is increasing in villages outside the areas outlined for eradication.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Burma’s role in the world’s opium trade is a mere fraction of what it was 10 years ago, when it was responsible for roughly 50 per cent of the world’s illicit output. Now, UNODC says, the figure is around five per cent, and the amount of opium produced in Burma has dropped from nearly 1,800 tonnes in 1993 to 460 tonnes in 2007. Continue reading “Shan Drug Watch: Ten Years After”
The report, released on June 24, says poppy cultivation in Burma marginally increased to 28,500 ha (hectares) in 2008 from 27,700 ha in 2007, with the total potential value of opium production rising only three million dollars, to US$ 123 million, in 2008.
Opium production in Burma continues to be dominated by the eastern part of the country, with Shan state accounting for 89 percent of national production and the remaining 11 percent split between Kachin and Karenni states.
Khuensai Jaiyen, editor of the Thailand-based Shan Herald Agency for News, confirmed that eastern Shan state continues to be the hub of the country’s opium production and speculates a further rise in the region’s production is to be expected.
“There will be a further increase in poppy cultivation in the future because people have no other choice for their livelihood than this business,” said Khuensai Jaiyen. Continue reading “Burma’s share of global opium production has roughly held steady over the last year, according to a 2009 drug production report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).”