Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s is not guilty, the junta is

The recent arrest and detention of Burma’s democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi poses a monumental challenge to how democracy should work in the world today.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate is being tried on charges that she violated the terms of her current six-year house arrest. The charges came with only two weeks to go before the term of her house arrest expired.

She was supposed to be declared as a free citizen on May 27 but the junta has just found another reason to extend her detention period when an American war veteran swam across a lake in central Rangoon and spent a night at the waterfront villa where Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest.

The recent arrest and detention of Burma’s democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi poses a monumental challenge to how democracy should work in the world today.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate is being tried on charges that she violated the terms of her current six-year house arrest. The charges came with only two weeks to go before the term of her house arrest expired.

She was supposed to be declared as a free citizen on May 27 but the junta has just found another reason to extend her detention period when an American war veteran swam across a lake in central Rangoon and spent a night at the waterfront villa where Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest.

Unelected and unwanted by their own people, the ruling military generals of Burma are now becoming more and more irrational and paranoid. The junta, instead of forging sincere dialogue with the National League for Democracy (NLD) had chosen to marginalize the opposition party and its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by continuously fabricating charges.

Since the junta took power in 1962, there is a clear absence of the rule of law in Burma which has resulted in massive human rights violations, including systematic rape, forced labor, killings of media practitioners and human rights defenders and torture of political prisoners. The number of political prisoners has now reached 2,100 according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB).

When Burma was adopted by the ASEAN in 1997, there was hope that somehow Burma would democratize and follow certain democratic standards and norms. That expectation failed to materialize and now ASEAN is still ineffective to compel its spoiled brat member to initiate tangible democratic reforms. Despite international criticisms, the junta simply enjoys crossing all the borders of decency just to maintain its grasp on power.

Torture of political prisoners and rape of women happen almost daily in Burma. In the Insein prison, where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is undergoing her current trial, souls of the thousands of people are murmuring for justice.

As the volume of protest intensifies against the trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the military regime unfortunately is still unwilling to lend an ear. The ruling generals have rejected foreign criticisms of these charges as mere interference from abroad. Speaking at a meeting of EU and South East Asian ministers in Cambodia, Maung Myint, the deputy foreign minister of Burma casually insisted that the trial was not a human rights issue.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not guilty of any crime. A staunch advocate of non-violent struggle, Aung San Suu Kyi has long earned the respect of Burma’s people and the admiration of the world through her various contributions to the advancement of human rights. The junta on the other hand has not earned anything after years in power except global anger.

Knowing the tyrannical regime of Burma, it is not so hard to predict what would be the verdict of the trial. But ASEAN and the UN should not wait any second longer to immediately extend help to free all Burma’s political prisoners.

Burma is suffering and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is just one of the many living symbols of this noble cause to free Burma once and for all. If there is somebody who must be prosecuted, it is the junta generals no less! ###

Egoy N. Bans
Spokesperson
Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBC-Phils)
#15 Door 15 Casal Bldg. Anonas Rd. QC
Contact: 911-02-05 or 4352900

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