Witnesses examined in Burmese trial
Witnesses examined in Myanmarese trial
TNN 12 November 2009, 04:59am IST KOLKATA:
Examination of defence witnesses in the trial of 34 Myanmarese nationals arrested by military intelligence in February, 1998 on charges of spying began in the City Sessions Court on Wednesday. The Myanmarese have been languishing behind bars even though civil rights activists and organisations both in India and Myanmar have claimed that they are freedom fighters opposing the military junta in their country.
After some debate on whether the media should be allowed to be present during the hearing, noted human rights activist and lawyer Nandita Haksar was the first to depose on behalf of the foreigners. The judge shot down contentions by the public prosecutor that the media be asked to leave and Haksar not be allowed to depose as she is a lawyer for the Myanmarese. Haksar placed on record several letters from Myanmar, including one from Aung San Suu Kyi, praying for the release of the 34. She also pointed out how the West Bengal government and the Solidarity Committee for Burma’s Freedom Fighters organised a football match to express solidarity for the accused.
Haksar placed on record an article written by a former senior RAW official, in which he had said the Myanmarese had done nothing wrong under Indian law. Among the others expected to depose on their behalf in the next few days are Dr Khin Maung, president, National United Party of Arakan and Dr Sein Win, prime minister, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, in exile.