Suu Kyi prosecution delivers closing arguments in Myanmar trial by

[JURIST] Myanmar prosecutors on Monday delivered final arguments in the trial against opposition pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], after being granted additional time to prepare. The Nobel Laureate and National League of Democracy (NLD) [party website] leader faces charges of violating her house arrest for allowing an American to stay after he swam across a lake to visit her. Suu Kyi’s lawyer U Nyan Win plans to respond [NYT report] to the prosecution’s arguments on Tuesday. No date has been set for the verdict. Also on Monday, Amnesty International [advocacy website] announced Suu Kyi as the 2009 recipient [press release] of their “Ambassador of Conscience” award, marking the 20-year anniversary of her arrest for alleged violations of an anti-subversion law [text]. The award recognizes “exceptional leadership and witness” in the protection and promotion of human rights.

Suu Kyi’s trial has elicited condemnation and criticism [JURIST report] from the international community. Following a delay in the proceedings, the trial resumed earlier this month with the testimony of an NLD party member who claimed that the charges were politically motivated. Myanmar officials say they plans to release political prisoners [JURIST report] to allow them to participate in the 2010 general elections although it remains unclear whether Suu Kyi will be among those released.

Asean’s Burmese diplomacy has failed

The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi has highlighted the inability of Burma’s neighbours to counter the generals’ stranglehold

The bizarre and protracted trial of Aung San Suu Kyi has just heard the final arguments of the prosecution and defence. The verdict – not expected for another month – will not only decide the fate of Burma’s iconic opposition leader, who has been held under house arrest for the best part of 19 years, but will cast a decisive shadow over elections scheduled for 2010.

During the recent visit of UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, junta chief General Tan Shwe promised free and fair elections next year. Indonesia’s foreign minister Dr Hassan Wirajuda has made it clear that Burma must release Suu Kyi if those elections are to be credible. Attending ARF, the Asean regional forum in Phuket, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton informed the Burmese delegation that any US offer to improve relations is dependent on releasing Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. Continue reading “Asean’s Burmese diplomacy has failed”

Burma’s Amnesty Claim Sure To Be Yet Another Bluff

David Scott Mathieson-Huffington post

MAE SOT–United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appears to have been granted a belated booby prize from Burma’s military rulers after his recent trip. On July 13, Ban bleakly reported to the Security Council that his visit was a major lost opportunity for the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to demonstrate their commitment to change. They did not allow him to visit Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi nor did they release any political prisoners.

Yet after Ban’s speech, the Burmese ambassador to the UN, Than Shwe, said that his government was “processing to grant amnesty to prisoners on humanitarian grounds and with a view to enabling them to participate in the 2010 elections.” This step was one of three benchmarks Ban announced before his visit, the others being the resumption of a substantive dialogue inside Burma, and to create conditions conducive to a credible and legitimate election.

Burma’s president, General Than Shwe (no relation to the ambassador), had assured Ban during his visit that the long-planned elections would be “free, fair, and credible.”

Can the SPDC be trusted to release all of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners and allow them to run in elections? Unfortunately we’ve been through this all before.

Recent amnesties in Burma have been little more than public relations stunts. In September 2008, 9,000 prisoners were released, but only six of them, including the 78-year-old journalist U Win Tin were political activists. The amnesty was to detract attention from the one-year anniversary of the brutal 2007 crackdown against monks and other activists in which at least 21 people were killed. In February this year, to illustrate cooperation with a visiting UN human rights envoy, another amnesty freed 6,000 prisoners. Only 24 of these were imprisoned for political activities.

Meanwhile, in the two years since the 2007 crackdown, the number of political prisoners in Burma doubled, to 2,100 and courts have sentenced hundreds of activists to long prison terms. Continue reading “Burma’s Amnesty Claim Sure To Be Yet Another Bluff”

Three Burmese soldiers that defected from the army have been missing since they were arrested by Bangladesh Rifles in the border area of southern Chittagong Hill Tract on 20 February, 2009, said a relative of one.

Three Burmese Defectors Missing After Arrest in Bangladesh
News – Narinjara News
MONDAY, 27 JULY 2009 11:02

Dhaka: Three Burmese soldiers that defected from the army have been missing since they were arrested by Bangladesh Rifles in the border area of southern Chittagong Hill Tract on 20 February, 2009, said a relative of one.

The three were identified as Maung Maung Than, Soe Thwe, and Than Htay Haing, from Light Infantry Battalion 538 based in Rathidaung, 20 miles north of Sittwe.

The relative said that he came to Bangladesh last week to inquire about them but received information that they were sent back to Burma in April 2009 by Bangladesh authorities along with other Burmese prisoners.

The soldiers were arrested by Bangladesh Rifles at Headman Maung Shwe Sein’s village in southern Bandarban in February while they were looking for shelter in the area.

According to a local source, the three defected from the Burmese army after some of their ammunition magazines went missing during a trip with their column to inspect the border pillars.

The Burmese army severely punishes soldiers that lose ammunition or military equipment, so the three soldiers fled from their column to Bangladesh out of fear of punishment.

After their arrest, the Bangladesh authorities reportedly brought them to Dhaka for interrogation.

A Burmese refugee staying in Cox’s Bazar said the three soldiers were reportedly handed over to Burma by Bangladesh authorities at the Maungdaw border point along with other Burmese prisoners during an arranged repatriation in April 2009. Continue reading “Three Burmese soldiers that defected from the army have been missing since they were arrested by Bangladesh Rifles in the border area of southern Chittagong Hill Tract on 20 February, 2009, said a relative of one.”

Ceasefire army on watch list

The Military Affairs Security (MAS) branch in Lashio, capital of Northern Shan State, has been instructed to keep the Shan State Army (SSA) “North”, officially Shan State Special Region #3, under close watch, according to an informed source on the Sino-Burma border.Its top leader Maj Gen Hso Ten has been serving 106 year jail sentence in Khamti, after his participation in the Shan State Day reception on 7 February 2005 in Taunggyi. “Other leaders from now on must watch their own steps,” he warned. “The junta needs only a misstep from them to dump them on trumped up charges.”

The SSA “North” is led by major generals Loi Mao, Gaifa and Pangfa. It has 3 brigades: the First with approximately 3,000 men, the Third with 500 and Seventh with 1,000. The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has called it “the closest ally outside the Peace and Democracy Front (PDF)”.

The PDF is made up of 4 members: UWSA, Kokang or Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Mongla or National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA) and New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K).

The SSA North’s units are positioned on the west bank of the Salween and any attack on the UWSA by the Burma Army coming from the west will have to negotiate stiff resistance by the SSA first.

It is also under suspicion of being hand in glove with the anti-Naypyitaw SSA “South” led by Col Yawdserk.

According to Network for Democracy and Development (NDD), 25 July 2009, 8 of the existing 13 ceasefire groups are against Naypyitaw’s plan to transform them into Border Guard Force (BGF) outwardly to be commanded by ceasefire officers but, to all intents and purposes, to be run by junta officers

What the World Continues to Forget by buffalohair

Daw Aung Suu Kyi of Burma is not looking to be rescued and liberated from bondage contrary to the well meaning world. If that were the case she would have been released from incarceration and shipped out of the country, never to return. She is standing for her nation and the thousands of political prisoners. Likened to the woefully misguided John William Yettaw, the world press is filled with rhetoric and inadvertently promoting the sham 2010 election. The notion Burma’s proposed election is anywhere near legal is totally incorrect at the very least and contrary to international law, plain and simple.

The criminal regime of Gen. Than Shwe’s regime does not fall into any category within the context of legitimate nations by any means. It’s merely a band of thugs who’ve made a mockery of international law in the face of an impotent world. To hear world leaders continue to ask for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release so the bogus election can continue with legitimacy is nothing more than a contradiction. Part and parcel the world has become unwitting participants in human rights violations and genocide. Than Shwe has increased his campaign of Burmanization (rape) and ethnic cleansing as world leaders make lofty speeches. In essence the world has bought the critical time Than Shwe needed to advance his agenda of arrests and murder of the opposition while pushing to legitimizing his criminal regime. Continue reading “What the World Continues to Forget by buffalohair”

Rally to support the Long March and Hunger Strike for Free Burma and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as it approaches Ithaca, NY

In support of the Long March and Hunger Strike for Free Burma and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi there will be a rally in the Commons to support our noble peace walkers.

Please spread the word about this and join us! This event is planned to start at 15:00 on 28 July 2009 at The Commons, Ithaca, NY.

Maung Maung Tate,

Thank you very much.

Jeffrey Karl Hellman
International Campaign for Freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma (Spokesperson)