Burma-Supreme Court Hears Final Suu Kyi Appeal Arguments

Burma’s Supreme Court in Naypyidaw heard final defense arguments on Friday in the appeal by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her extended house arrest.

The three-hour hearing took place before Burma’s Chief Justice, Aung Toe, said Tin Oo, Vice Chairman of the disbanded National League for Democracy (NLD).

Tin Oo said no judgment was delivered, but he expected it to come next week.

Suu Kyi’s current term of house arrest is due to end on Nov. 13, less than one week after the Nov. 7 election.

The Nobel Prize laureate first appealed against her 15-month sentence before the Rangoon divisional court last September. The court rejected her appeal.

On Dec. 21, Suu Kyi’s lawyers lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Suu Kyi was initially sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of violating the terms of her house arrest by briefly sheltering an uninvited American intruder, John W. Yettaw, in her home in May 2009.

That sentence was commuted to 18 months house arrest by junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe who intervened personally at the conclusion of the trial which most analysts labeled a farce.

Suu Kyi has been detained for more than 14 of the past 20 years.

In the defense appeal, Nyan Win argued that Suu Kyi’s house arrest extension was unlawful as it was based on provisions from the 1974 Constitution which was no longer in effect. But government lawyers countered that the 1974 Constitution can still be cited since it was not officially abolished, Nyan Win said.


Suu Kyi legal team expects her release before election

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi looks set for release before nationwide elections to be held in a matter of days, according to one of her lawyers outside Burma’s top court in Naypyidaw, where the special appeal against her house arrest began today.

suu-kyi-campbell2s1sBurmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at the Dusit Inya Lake Hotel in Rangoon for a meeting with Dr. Kurt Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, in November last year. She looks set for release before polls in nine days, her lawyers said today outside Burma’s top court in Naypyidaw, where an appeal against her house arrest began today. October 29, 2010. Photo: Mizzima

“I believe that Aung San Suu Kyi will be free before the election,” Nyan Win, one of three lawyers representing her, told Mizzima. Continue reading “Suu Kyi legal team expects her release before election”

Mudon Township residents react to USDP campaign tactics

October 28, 2010

In northern Mudon Township, the USDP begun a campaign of gift distribution of snacks to local residents as they pass by, and at local poling meetings, with the apparent aim of securing their votes before the November 7th election date. In addition, residents describe the USDP effort to win the backing of local business leaders. Many residents, who support other local parties, have found the overwhelming campaign unfair and offensive.

Within communities in Mudon township, USDP offices have worked with assistance from Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) heads in the organization of USDP campaign rallies, distributed snacks and food, and targeted local businesses with the promise of economic concessions in exchange for their support. At meetings organized by the USDP and VPDC heads, several local residents have reported being afraid of the consequences of not voting, either in protest of the election, or from being unable to go and vote during the crucial harvest time that coincides with the election date. Residents are afraid their absence – whatever the cause – will be noted on the polling attendance record, which by default has the names of every household in the village. Villagers that attend are marked on the list, and given a ballot with their name and ID card number on it. Bellow are the personal accounts of residents from the area reacting to this USDP campaign activity in northern Mudon Township starting on October 10th.

The USDP has actively engaged in attempting to win the support of local residents through distributing snack and food in order bring people to the campaign polling meetings. While not overtly illegal, the USDP is the only party to extensively offer gifts in exchange for support, an act many residents have connected to the party’s inheritance of the budget of the now defunct government backed and financed, Unions Solidarity and Development Association (USDA). Continue reading “Mudon Township residents react to USDP campaign tactics”

Ye Township Immigration Department Has Not Distributed All Registration IDs for Election

October 29th, 2010

Wera Marn : Since registering in April 2010, many residents from Ye township in southern Mon state have not yet received their identification cards. These identification cards are necessary for voting in the upcoming November 7th elections.

Both residing in Ye township, a 25 year old woman and 38 year old woman, explain, “I can’t vote for the election because I still haven’t received my ID.” The 25 year old registered three months ago, while the 38 year old registered a year ago. Both have not received their IDs from their ward headman. The election date is getting close, but the ward headmen have not distributed the ID cards for those who registered with the Department of Immigration and National Registration in Ye township.

On the other hand, Khaw zar sub-township in southern Ye Township disbursed the identification cards (IDs) on the third of October.  “In order to make the voter registration card, we have to go to the immigration department office. The process lasts two days. On the first day, they ask our family history, and we have to pay 3000 kyat. The next day we have to pay 10,000 kyat to complete the process,” said a Khaw zar resident.

One staff member from the Department of Immigration and National Registration at Ye said, “I am also not sure why the department has not distributed the Ids.” Continue reading “Ye Township Immigration Department Has Not Distributed All Registration IDs for Election”

Internet cafés forced to close before the 2010 election

One internet café in Moulmine

Asah : Over 13 internet cafés in Mon state and 10 internet cafés in Karen State have temporarily closed. The reasons: no connection and the upcoming elections.

Internet cafes in Hpa-an town, Karen State, and Moulmine, Mudon, Thanphuzaryat and other small villages in Mon state have had to close.

One student from Hpa-An University surmised, “there is no internet connection at this moment. I think because it is very close to the election date.”

One internet café owner in Moulmine said there has been no internet line for three days and because of this some stores have closed. “Now we can’t use Gmail, Gtalk, etc, so we closed the shop. Some shops offer games. We are facing many problems because of this [no internet connection]. This is our job. Now we are free all the time,” the internet cafe owner added.

Similarly, an internet café owner from Hpa-an said, “they closed the internet line for three days. I don’t why they closed it. They closed down contact with IP star [satellite]. We have a line signal, but we are not connected.”

Many students are frustrated because of the lack of internet connection. With no access, they cannot do online tests or find out important information from the internet. One student speculated that the reason for Burmese government shut down of the internet is due to a fear of information spreading from inside Burma to people outside. With the use of Gmail, Gtalk, blogging, and other sites, pictures and information can be easily uploaded and spread past Burmese borders.

Karen and Mon state are not the only areas to experience connection problems. Other ethnic areas, and even some internet cafés in Rangoon, have had to close as well.

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