Aung San Oo loses case to stop Suu Kyi’s house repairs

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The lawsuit filed by a brother of Aung San Suu Kyi to stop her continuing repairs on her crumbling two-storey villa was rejected by a court in Rangoon on Tuesday, a lawyer for the pro-democracy leader said.

Elder brother Aung San Oo, a US citizen, had through his lawyer Han Toe, sought an injunction from the Rangoon Division Court on January 21 to halt renovations that included fixing the leaking roof of the house on University Avenue Road. The lawsuit was rejected, Nyan Win, a lawyer for Aung San Suu Kyi, said.

With the approval of the Rangoon City Development Committee, lawyers for Aung San Suu Kyi had filed a counterclaim on February 4. They had submitted that the renovation would not cause damage to the property, the ownership of which is under dispute, so her brother could not object to the repairs, he said.

“The lawsuit of Aung San Oo was rejected at noon on April 6, because it lacked sufficient basis. So, we have won in court,” Nyan Win said. “Renovations to her residence can resume on April 8 after a copy of the order of the Rangoon Division Court is submitted to the Rangoon City Development Committee.”

In its verdict, the court cited general principles of safety and maintenance as reasons for deciding against Aung San Oo, he said.

Although the Rangoon City Development Committee approved last November the start of repairs in recognition that the building had become dangerous, they were put on hold on December 23 after lawyers for Aung San Oo obtained an injunction, citing his claim on the property.

Dr. Suu Kyi’s house arrest was prolonged 18 months for breaching the terms of her detention after the uninvited American, John Yettaw, swam across Inya Lake in May and stayed in her house for two days before authorities arrested him.

The Independent of London reported in February that the row over the house started in 2000 when Aung San Oo, who had become a US citizen, sued his sister in Rangoon High Court for a share in the family home. She has been detained for more than 14 years. The report said, her lawyers won but in 2001 her brother filed another suit and that the matter was still pending.

Hla Oo, from the Burmese democratic government in exile, commented on the legality of Aung San Oo’s claims to the house. In a post on the Australian National University’s Southeast Asian affairs blog, New Mandala, he said: “The property ownership is the massively grey area in Burmese legal system for the Burmese with dual citizenship.”

Burma Army setting up more barriers against Wa

Burma Army checkpoint near Tachilek

Burma’ ruling military junta has reportedly been erecting barriers more densely than ever against ethnic ceasefire groups, especially in the United Wa State Army (UWSA) as the latest deadline 22 April draws near, according to local sources from the Thai-Burma border.

The activities reportedly started on 27 March, Armed Forces Day. Between Tachilek and Monghsat, a distance of 63 miles, there are no less than 20 Burma Army checkpoints, a local source in Monghsat said. “It is to monitor Wa’s movements.”At the same time, Tachilek authorities are also vigorously conducting inspection of the people in the town for a week. They have been checking from house to house including hotels and apartments from 22:00 until dawn, said a Tachilek resident.

“They asked many questions. They checked our ID cards and questioned whether our cards are real or not. Some people staying in apartments got thorough inspection including their bedrooms.” she said. “We don’t’ know why they are so serious.”

In addition, rumor is around that Naypyitaw is deploying three more Light Infantry Divisions (LIDs): Kalaw based LID #55, Pegu based LID #77 and Pa-an based LID#22 to the areas very soon. Tachilek area commander Colonel Khin Maung Soe himself was reported to have left the town to oversee the preparations.

The situation seems if the Wa is still standing defiant to the Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force program, a breakout of hostilities after 28 April is possible, a border watcher said.

The UWSA and other ceasefire groups have been given a 22 April deadline to accept the Burma Army’s demand, and to face the consequences of their continued defiance by 28 April, when they would be declared as illegal organizations.

According to a source close to the UWSA southern military region, the ruling military junta should accept the Wa’s latest counter proposal submitted on 1 April.

“In the past, we said there should be no junta officers at the battalion level,” he said. “But now we are allowing it to have one officer to serve either as a commander or deputy commander at the battalion level.”

Mae Hong Son refugee camp razed in accidental fire

300 Karen refugees left homeless

Residents of the Pang Moo holding center in Mae Hong Son are left homeless after an accidental fire razed the camp.

Khajohn Boonpath

The refugee holding center in Pang Moo, Mae Hong Son, was damaged by fire on March 23 and more than 300 Karen refugees were left homeless. Mae Hong Son provincial authorities and UNHCR have pledged to rebuild houses and install a new water supply system after the fire.

Thaweesak Wattanathamraks, Deputy Mae Hong Son Governor, accompanied by Col Boonyuen Inkwang, Deputy Commander of the Special Task Force of Infantry Regiment, Pol. Col. Suriyong Wuthi, the superintendent of Mae Hong Son police station, Prasert O-Sataphan, Mae Hong Son district officer, and Watchira Chotirosseranee, the permanent secretary who manages the holding inspected the destroyed areas of the refugee camp.

Watchira said that the fire started because one of the residents had lit a candle and then left to visit a friend’s house. Strong winds knocked the candle over. Made of bamboo and grass roofs, the fire caught quickly and spread across the camp rapidly.

He added that this refugee camp was often attacked across the border so many of the residents panicked at the fire, worried it was another attack.