Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal battle and junta’s report
Daw Suu’s lawyer disputes regime account of meeting
Sep 3, 2008 (DVB)–U Kyi Win, lawyer for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has said that government reports of his meeting with the detained democracy leader were misleading, in an interview with DVB.
Daw Suu reportedly apologised that she would not be able to meet liaison minister U Aung Kyi under the present circumstances and spoke of her concern about the restrictions on her assistant Daw Khin Khin Win.
She refused to confirm or deny rumours that she was on a hunger strike but said that she did not need a visit from her doctor any sooner than her next scheduled monthly check-up.
Kyi Win gave a detailed account of his meeting with the National League for Democracy leader at her residence on University Avenue in Rangoon where she is held under house arrest.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar reported on the meeting, stating that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had had her request granted to meet her lawyer for 55 minutes on 1 September.
Kyi Win responded to the article, and to claims that the NLD leader had rejected the government’s offer of a meeting with relations minister U Aung Kyi on 2 September and a check-up with her doctor on 1 September.
“The phrase ‘at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s request’ is not quite accurate; in fact, I submitted the application form,” he said.
“We were to submit the draft of her appeal and she would amend it and add what was needed, then after the draft had been verified, we would write a final version and submit it.”
Kyi Win said he had applied for permission to discuss the appeal with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 27 August, proposing 29 August or 1 September for a meeting.
“As the 29th was not convenient – I don’t know why it was not convenient, let it be, this is their job – I was told on the evening of the 31st that I could see her on the 1st,” he said.
Kyi Win said he was delayed in getting to the special branch office and was given a strict limitation on the timing of the meeting.
“Having arrived there late, we had discussions and what transpired was that we would only be given 30 minutes for the meeting,” he said.
“I told them we wouldn’t be able to do anything within half an hour, it is not sufficient,” he went on.
“But they couldn’t change it – they said to get Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to confirm as much as possible within the half hour on that day, bring back the draft of the appeal and as a favour, they would do all the print-outs and so on at their office.”
During the meeting, Kyi Win passed on the proposed schedule for a meeting with general Aung Kyi and a visit from Dr Tin Myo Win, the NLD leader’s doctor.
He also tried to discuss Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s appeal, but said the strict time limit on the meeting meant that he did not have time to explain the legal background of each of the nine grounds for appeal.
Despite the time limit, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave Kyi Win several instructions and messages, which he said he had noted down.
With regard to her appeal, the NLD leader said that everything should be done according to the law and that she wanted to make arrangements to give power of attorney to Kyi Win and U Nyan Win of the NLD.
She also said that she wanted to meet with liaison minister Aung Kyi but that certain issues needed to be resolved before she could do so.
“I will read the words she used: She has the desire to see U Aung Kyi and wants to me to convey her regards to him,” Kyi Win said.
“But there are matters that are not resolved yet and as they have not yet been resolved she asked his forgiveness and understanding,” he said.
Kyi Win refuted the government’s implication that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was unwilling to meet the minister.
“They make it appear as though it is her who doesn’t want to meet. She didn’t say that she only wanted to see me and not other people, that was not part of it,” he said.
“If it were true, it would be something to be proud of. But it is not good to be proud of something which is not true.”
With regard to the offer of a visit from her physician, Kyi Win said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had said it was unnecessary given that he had visited her on 17 August and was only supposed to be carrying out monthly check-ups.
Kyi Win said he had told Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that people inside and outside Burma were concerned about widespread reports that she was on a hunger strike and he asked her how he should respond to such questions.
“She said, ‘Oh, Uncle, just say, I am well. I am well but I have lost some weight’,” he said.
Kyi Win said that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was also worried about the restrictions placed on Daw Khin Khin Win, her assistant and companion.
“The [restriction] order does apply to Daw Khin Khin Win and her child. Even when they go out, they are not allowed to move freely,” Kyi Win said.
“So on the day I dealt with the special branch, I took it on board and made a deal with them openly. [Government agents] followed her to the dental surgery and took photographs and the dentist didn’t dare to tell them off as they were from the special branch,” he said.
“Whatever it is, even if she has a broken tooth she feels pestered. Khin Khin Win is a free person. She went to help out of loving kindness.”
Kyi Win said Daw Suu had questioned how far she could accept the restrictions on Khin Khin Win, and had said she would stay in the house alone if it could protect them from such infringements of their rights.
Kyi Win said that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was also upset not to be able to read letters from her family.
“She has sons in England – she can’t read their letters. And normal magazines and so on are prohibited – she can’t read them,” Kyi Win said.
“Daw Suu told me: ‘Uncle, I accept the censorship. Censor them, I don’t mind. But after they have been censored, I should be allowed to read them.”
Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw
Aung San Suu Kyi refuses to meet her doctor: Junta media
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 21:25
New Delhi – Burma’s state controlled media on Wednesday said detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to meet her family doctor, Tin Myo Win, and the government’s Liaison Minister appointed to mediate between her and junta supremo Than Shwe.
The Myanma Ahlin daily on Wednesday said on the request of Aung San Suu Kyi, the government had arranged the third meeting, within two months, with her lawyer Kyi Win on Sunday.
Though the government had also planned to send her family doctor on the same day and arrange another meeting with the Liaison Minister Aung Kyi on Monday, Aung San Suu Kyi had refused meeting both the doctor and the minister, the paper said.
“The government had asked Kyi Win to inform Aung San Suu Kyi, of the planned meetings but Kyi Win after meeting her, brought back her reply that she will only meet her lawyer and is also not ready to meet her doctor,” the paper said.
The Nobel Peace Laureate’s party spokesperson Nyan Win, who was briefed by Kyi Win after his meeting, told Mizzima that he had also heard that Aung San Suu Kyi would be visited by her lawyer on Sunday.
“But due to some reason, Dr. Tin Myo Win did not visit her, and when we asked Kyi Win, he said he is not aware of it,” Nyan Win said.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal lawyer Kyi Win was unreachable of Wednesday for comment.
Nyan Win, the National League for Democracy’s spokesperson, also said he was not aware of the government’s arrangement for a meeting with the Liaison Minister Aung Kyi.
Labor Minister Aung Kyi was appointed the Laison Minister in October last year after the United Nations pressured the government to kick-start the process of reconciliation following the junta’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in September.
Nyan Win said, lawyer Kyi Win and Aung San Suu Kyi are in the process of preparing a lawsuit against her continued detention and during their last meeting Kyi Win had given her the petition letter to be approved.
The Burmese democracy icon has been under some form of detention pr the other for more than 12 of the past 19 years. Her latest arrest was in May 2003 and though under the Burmese law, she cannot be detained continuously for more than five years, the junta in May extended her detention.
Following Aung San Suu Kyi’s abrupt refusal to meet visiting UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, a shocking but unconfirmed information that suggests the detained Burmese democracy icon is on a hunger strike, has been circulating both among the Burmese and international communities.
While the information remains unconfirmed, Nyan Win said Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to receive her weekly food supplies since mid-August.
Sources said, Aung San Suu Kyi and the junta had agreed on her food being sent to her on a weekly basis by her supporters.
“We don’t know if she is on hunger strike, but if it is true, we are really concerned about her health,” Nyan Win said.
Win Min, a Thailand based Burmese analyst, said the situation is getting complex as access to information is slow and uncertain so it is difficult to speculate on the intentions of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the motive behind the news carried by the Junta’s mouthpiece newspaper.
“But definitely it is a matter of grave concern,” Win Min said.
Win Min also said, “it could be possible that the junta is trying to paint an unseemly picture of her [Aung San Suu Kyi] by saying that she refuses to meet the Liaison Minister for talks.”
But he added that it could also have other motives, as the information could not be verified.
“What is certainly significant is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s refusal to meet Gambari,” he added.
Win Min added that this clearly indicates Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s frustration with the UN envoy in particular and the junta’s reluctance to kick-start a process of dialogue.
Nyo Ohn Myint, foreign Affiars in-charge of the exiled NLD, however, told Mizzima in an earlier interview that Aung San Suu Kyi might be demanding negotiations on the junta’s planned 2010 election, which is part of the junta’s so-called roadmap to democracy.
“It could be that she [Aung San Suu Kyi] wants the junta to discuss matters relating to the 2010 election,” Nyo Ohn Myint said.
He added that the junta should officially negotiate or discuss with the NLD the ensuing 2010 elections.
The NLD, which won over 80 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the last general elections in 1990, has clung to the election results though the junta has denied it a chance to rule. However, the NLD has time and again reiterated the need for negotiation to solve the political deadlock, which the junta deliberately turns a deaf ear to.
Gambari, during his last visit to Burma in August, failed to convince the NLD leaders that he had urged the government to conduct free and fair elections.
“I think Gambari’s role is more or less over,” said Win Min, adding that he has not been able to change the junta’s behaviour while the opposition including the NLD remains unconvinced of his process.
“But I think Gambari might have chosen the moderate way, though not in favour of the junta, when he said he had urged for free and fair elections,” Win Min said.
Suu Kyi Continues Legal Battle
By WAI MOE
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Burma’s detained democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, met with her lawyer yesterday to discuss a legal challenge to the ruling junta’s decision to extend her house arrest earlier this year.
NLD spokesman Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy on Monday that Suu Kyi’s meeting with her lawyer—the third since early August—concerned a lawsuit that she is mounting against her continuing detention, which was extended in May. She has been under house arrest since May 2003.
Nyan Win said that time constraints made it impossible for Suu Kyi and her lawyer to finish their business.
“Her discussions with her lawyer couldn’t conclude because the meeting was limited to just 30 minutes,” he said, adding that it was not clear when the authorities would allow Suu Kyi and her lawyer to meet again to discuss her case.
Political observers in Rangoon noted that this was the first time that Suu Kyi had attempted to use the courts to challenge the junta’s right to keep her under house arrest. Some also said that she was in touch with members of her party and the authorities to discuss the case.
Meanwhile, a diplomatic source suggested that Suu Kyi could be released before the end of this year. However, other sources said that Suu Kyi would also demand the release of all political prisoners if the junta decides to free her.
Suu Kyi’s meeting with her lawyer came amid rumors that she had begun a hunger strike.
Her lawyer, Kyi Win, said that Suu Kyi made no mention of a hunger strike, and in response to questions about her condition, quoted her as saying: “I am well, but I have lost some weight. I am a little tired and I need to rest.”
This was not the first time that Suu Kyi was rumored to be on a hunger strike. There were reports in September 2003 that she was refusing food. Those rumors proved to be inaccurate.
Observers suggested that the current rumors were also unlikely to be true, since the junta wouldn’t allow her to meet with her lawyer if she were staging a hunger strike.
Suu Kyi’s colleague, veteran journalist Ohn Kyaing, said that she takes meditation and other Buddhist practices seriously, and may be losing weight because she is abstaining from eating dinner for religious reasons during the three-month Buddhist Lent.
Thakin Chun Tun, a veteran politician in Rangoon, said Suu Kyi needed to be healthy so she could engage in a genuine dialogue with the regime to break the ongoing crises in the country.
“Burma’s crises can only be resolved through a genuine dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Snr-Gen Than Shwe, head of the ruling junta,” he said. “I hope she will take care of her health.”
The veteran politician said that while hunger strikes were an effective non-violent tactic during the country’s colonial period, they are less likely to succeed today.
“The current political environment is totally different from the colonial period,” he said.
“Burma is now ruled by the military—human life has less value now than under British rule.”
Suu Kyi’s refusals indicate anger over slow reform
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to meet her personal physician and a top government minister, indicating her continued frustration at the slow pace of reform in the military-ruled country, her spokesman said Wednesday.
Suu Kyi refused to attend a Tuesday meeting with Relations Minister Aung Kyi at a government guest house in the city of Yangon, according to Nyan Win, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
Myanmar’s junta appointed Aung Kyi last year to facilitate talks aimed at bringing democratic reforms to the impoverished and isolated country.
Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, also declined a checkup from her personal physician, Dr. Tin Myo Win, Nyan Win said. The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s last checkup was Aug. 17, when her doctor said she was well.
Nyan Win said he did not know for certain why Suu Kyi had refused the meetings but that it was likely to do with the government’s failure to embrace a timetable for democratic reform.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is dissatisfied with the lack of progress from the talks and also unhappy with the lack of a timeframe,” he said.
The 63-year-old Suu Kyi has repeatedly turned away food deliveries to her house in recent weeks and refused to meet U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari when he visited Myanmar last month.
Suu Kyi’s lawyer Kyi Win visited her on Monday and later said she had lost weight and was shunning food deliveries. He would not comment on rumors that the opposition leader had gone on a hunger strike.
She has been detained under house arrest for years and relies on food delivered to her home by her party. Supporters said last week she had not accepted food deliveries since Aug. 15.
Kyi Win declined to say why Suu Kyi was refusing food deliveries.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been in a political deadlock since 1990, when Suu Kyi’s party overwhelmingly won general elections but was not allowed to take power by the military.
The United Nations has tried with little success to nudge the government toward talks with the opposition. But the junta has not responded to international pressure to embrace national reconciliation following its violent suppression of massive anti-government protests last year.
Burma‘s Suu Kyi refuses to see government liaison
Burma’s detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to meet her doctor and a government minister who is in charge of liaising with her.
Burmese state-controlled media reports Ms Suu Kyi has refused to see anyone except her lawyer Kyi Win.
Kyi Win met her on Monday amid reports that the 63-year-old Nobel laureate had refused food supplies since August 15.
“I am well, but I have lost some weight.
“I am a little tired and I need to rest,” Kyi Win quoted her as saying during their 30-minute meeting.
Kyi Win is working on an appeal of the latest extension of Ms Suu Kyi’s detention order.
She has been in prison or under house arrest for nearly 13 of the past 19 years.
A spokesman for her National League for Democracy, the party that won a 1990 election landslide only to be denied power by the military, says he had also heard from the lawyer that Ms Suu Kyi had refused to meet Minister of Relations Aung Kyi on Tuesday.
“I think she’s unhappy about not receiving any reply from the regime in response to her suggestions for a reconciliation process,” the spokesman said.
“She had given hers to Aung Kyi in their previous meetings.”
In September 2003, the US government reported Ms Suu Kyi had gone on a hunger strike, although the Burmese regime and the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was untrue.