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

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