Myanmar bars entry to Suu Kyi trial

Government re-imposes restrictions on observers day after opening up proceedings.

    Aung San Suu Kyi met diplomats from foreign embassies in Yangon on Wednesday

    'Abuse inquiry'

    In depth


     Suu Kyi's uninvited guest
     
    Interview: Suu Kyi's US lawyer
     Asean criticised over Myanmar
     Video: Suu Kyi faces years in jail
     Video: Suu Kyi charges 'a ploy'
     Profile: Aung San Suu Kyi

    The government's move to re-impose restrictions comes as the Harvard Law School in the US called for an inquiry into 15 years of abuses in Myanmar, like
    those conducted into atrocities in Darfur, Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

    In a report released on Wednesday, the US college said that human rights abuses in Myanmar, "strongly suggest Burma's military regime may be committing crimes against humanity and war crimes prosecutable under international law".

    The report by five prominent international jurists came as Myanmar's govermment faces widespread condemnation for putting Aung San Suu Kyi on trial for breaking the terms of her house arrest after an American intruder was arrested for spending two days at her lakeside home in Yangon.

    Meanwhile, a smiling, healthy-looking Aung San Suu Kyi had thanked diplomats for coming to the trial on Wednesday and said she hoped to meet them again in "better days."

    The authorities allowed one diplomat from each of the 30 foreign embassies in Yangon to attend the courtroom, while Aung San Suu Kyi later held a separate meeting with envoys from Thailand, Singapore and Russia.

    Television footage

    State television showed footage of her striding briskly from a car to the meeting and then talking to the diplomats inside a so-called "guest house".

    It is the first moving footage of her for several months.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in detention without trial for more than 13 of the past 19 years, is accused of allowing a visitor to stay at her home without official permission.

    The offence is punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

    She is standing trial with two female members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party who live with her, and John Yettaw, a US citizen who triggered the charges by swimming to her property earlier this month and sneaking uninvited into her home.

    Supporters had hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi would be freed after her current period of house arrest comes to an end after six consecutive years of detention.

    The trial is widely seen as a pretext for the government to keep her in detention during elections the military has scheduled for next year.

    The military has said the vote will mark the culmination of what it calls Myanmar's "roadmap to democracy", but critics say it is a strategy for entrenching military control with a veneer of democracy.

    Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962.

    It last held an election in 1990, but the government refused to recognise the results after a landslide victory by the NLD.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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