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Myanmar’s Suu Kyi defends herself in case involving American intruder

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Myanmar’s Suu Kyi defends herself in case involving American intruder

May, 26, 2009 – 10:02 am


YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told a court Tuesday that although she gave “temporary shelter” to an uninvited American earlier this month, she had not violated her house arrest and was merely trying to shield the man and her security guards from punishment.

Testifying for the first time in the case, Suu Kyi appeared frail and pale but managed an occasional smile. A judge questioned her for less than half an hour about John Yettaw, who swam uninvited to her lakeside house.

The 63-year-old Nobel Peace laureate faces a possible prison term of up to five years in a trial that has brought worldwide outrage and led many countries in the West to say they are considering ramping up sanctions against the ruling junta. She is not expected to testify again, although she will continue to be present for the rest of the trial.

The charge against Suu Kyi is widely considered a pretext to keep her detained ahead of elections the military government has planned for next year. She pleaded not guilty Friday.

Myanmar’s courts operate under the influence of the military and almost always deal harshly with political dissidents.

Suu Kyi’s latest round of house arrest – extended every year since 2003 – was supposed to expire this week, and a top police official told diplomats Tuesday that the government had considered releasing her on “humanitarian grounds.”

But the junta reversed that decision when the “unexpected incident of the intrusion of the American happened,” Brig.-Gen. Myint Thein said. The regime’s critics, however, have assumed that the junta was looking for a pretext to keep her locked up.

She has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years in detention without trial, most at her dilapidated Yangon home.

Reporters and diplomats, including a reporter for The Associated Press, were allowed into the courtroom for Tuesday’s session, the second time during the trial that such rare access has been granted.

“Thank you for your concern and support. It is always good to see people from the outside world,” she told reporters and diplomats before being escorted out of the court by four policewomen.

Suu Kyi’s side does not contest the facts of the case: She acknowledges that she allowed Yettaw, 53, to stay after he entered her house uninvited and then subsequently said he was too ill to leave immediately.

In testimony and a written statement to the court, she has also said she did not alert authorities to his presence because she feared getting him and the security personnel guarding her house in trouble, according to her lawyers.

Suu Kyi told the judge Tuesday that she did not immediately know when Yettaw – who was also in the courtroom – entered her house, but that at 5 a.m., one of her women companions informed her “that a man had arrived.”

When asked if she reported his presence to the authorities, Suu Kyi said, “No, I did not.” She said she spoke to Yettaw and gave him “temporary shelter,” and he left just before midnight May 5.

Two women assistants who live with her, and Yettaw, also have pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

When he pleaded not guilty, Yettaw, from Missouri, explained he had a dream that Suu Kyi would be assassinated and he came to warn her that her life was in danger.

“Given her ordeal, she is in reasonably good shape,” said British Ambassador Mark Canning, who met with Suu Kyi last week.

More news:

Aung San Suu Kyi tells Burmese court she did not break terms of … – ‎‎

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, told a court today that she had no prior knowledge of an American man’s plan to visit her home in Rangoon …

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi defends herself in court

WTTE – ‎

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is admitting that she gave “temporary shelter” to an uninvited American who sneaked …

Burmese Pro-Democracy Leader Suu Kyi Testifies At Own Trial

AHN – ‎

Myanmar, also known as Burma has been governed by a military junta since 1962. Following Yeattaw’s arrest, there were reports that Myanmar officials had

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Voice of America – ‎

By VOA News Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has denied charges that she violated the terms of her house arrest by permitting an American intruder …

Suu Kyi denies wrongdoing

The Age –

Ms Suu Kyi was taking the stand for the first time since Burma’s military regime charged her after US army veteran John Yettaw swam across a lake to reach …

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AOL Canada –

Aung Suu Kyi testified Tuesday for less than 30 minutes in court at the Insein Prison in Rangoon, the capital of Burma, also known as Myanmar. …

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Ozarks First – ‎

(Yangon, Myanmar) — Myanmar moved today to lift the house arrest of pro-democracy activist but she remains in detention during her ongoing trial. …

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Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has taken the stand in her trial on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest. …

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Reuters Canada – ‎

By Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi testified at her prison trial on Tuesday as the nation’s military regime tried …

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Times Online –

The Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi took the witness stand in her own criminal trial today, and denied any wrongdoing in giving shelter to an …

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CNN – ‎
Genser countered the government’s account, citing the conclusion of the UN Human Rights Council. The law is unclear whether detention begins from the time a

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 26, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

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