QUESTION: Ian, a naturalized American citizen of Burmese origin was arrested, apparently, earlier – or several days ago at the airport there. He was a activist during the 1988 uprising and he hasn’t been heard from, and I wonder if that’s a matter of concern.
MR. KELLY: Yeah.
QUESTION: I have the name if you want it.
MR. KELLY: Well, Dave, as you know, our first priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens as they travel overseas. And as soon as we saw this report, we did go to the Government of Burma and ask for additional information. But because of our obligations under the Privacy Act, I can’t give you any more details than that, I’m afraid.
QUESTION: Can you at least say whether you’ve sought contact with him, or consular access to him?
MR. KELLY: We have sought consular access to him.
MR. KELLY: Yes.
QUESTION: The fighting’s still going on between the government and the people, and also the fighter for democracy again under arrest. So how long this will continue, and what action now you think the international community should take?
MR. KELLY: Well, I think that we’ve made it clear both bilaterally and also we’ve sought to highlight in multilateral fora like ASEAN that Burma needs to open up its political process, and most of all needs to free the more than 2,000 political prisoners that are incarcerated in Burma. And we, of course, are not alone in those concerns. Our allies in Europe have also called for the release of the political prisoners. We, of course, have – are aware that Aung San Suu Kyi will have an appeal heard in a couple weeks. I don’t have the exact date right now. But we would urge a fair hearing of Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up. Ever – Burma comes between U.S. and India when they meet – the situation in Burma ever?
MR. KELLY: Does the situation of Burma ever come up and – I think it depends on the circumstance. It depends on what’s going on in what particular forum. But since we do talk about the case of political prisoners in Burma often with our partners in that region, I imagine it does come up fairly often.
QUESTION: Thank you.
Lawyers meet Suu Kyi to discuss appeal
Thursday, 10 September 2009 23:06
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers met her for about two hours on Thursday and discussed the appeal to be filed against her sentence.
“We were allowed to meet her for about two hours and we basically discussed the appeal to be filed,” Nyan Win, one of her lawyers said.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers had filed a petition requesting the High Court to allow them to appeal against the decision by the Insein prison court, which sentenced her to a three-year prison term with hard labour.
The High Court accepted the submission and fixed September 18 for the hearing of arguments by Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers.
Though the district court had sentenced her to three years in jail, an executive order by Burma’s military supremo Snr. Gen Than Shwe halved Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentence to 18 months and allowed her to serve time at her lakeside home on Rangoon’s University Avenue.
Meanwhile, United States on Wednesday urged the Burmese regime to give the Nobel Peace Laureate a fair hearing on her appeal.
State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly told reporters during a regular press briefing that “We are aware that Aung San Suu Kyi will have an appeal heard in a couple of weeks. I don’t have the exact date right now. But we would urge a fair hearing of Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal.”
Kelly said the US has made it clear to the Burmese government bilaterally as well as highlighted it at the multilateral level, like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of the need “to open up its political process, and most of all the need to free the more than 2,000 political prisoners that are incarcerated in Burma.”
“And we, of course, are not alone in those concerns. Our allies in Europe have also called for the release of political prisoners,” Kelly added.