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ASEAN member urges governments not to fall for Burma ‘fallacy’

May 15, 2009 (DVB)-The head of the Burma caucus of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has said that the charges to be faced by Burma oppositon leader are "just ridiculous", and urged fellow ASEAN governments not to fall for the "fallacy" of elections next year.

Speaking at a press conference in Bangkok today, orgainsed by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, Kraisak Choonhavan, President of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, said he was "very upset" by the situation.

On Wednesday, the National League for Democracy leader and her two caretakers were brought to Rangoon’s Insein prison to face charges related to the visit to Suu Kyi’s compound, where she is kept under house arrest, by US citizen John William Yettaw.

"How can they be guilty of this American man coming to their house?" said Kraisak Choonhavan.

"How they they be charged when she already told him to leave? This is just getting ridiculous I think."

The conference, originally organised to discuss the broader issue of political prisoners in Burma, was of course given added significance following Wednesday’s announcement.

Speaking to DVB, the secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department of National League for Democracy (Liberated Areas), Moe Zaw Oo, said that a fair trial was highly unlikely.

"There is no rule of law in our country at all," he said.

"The junta will themselves decide on the judge, and the trial will be held in a makeshift court inside Insein prison. I would say that the judge cannot be called a real judge."

If convicted, Suu Kyi could face up to fives year in prison. She has already spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, and is nearing the end of the sixth year of her current internment.

"It is inconceivable to see a womean remain in a prison where many people have been tortured, and many have even died," said Choonhavan, speaking of Insein prison where hundreds of political prisoners are held.

Reporting by Francis Wade


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