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Burma state media gives first reports on Suu Kyi

May 19, 2009 (AFP), Burma’s tightly controlled state media has reported on the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time, giving a rare mention of the imprisoned pro-democracy leader.

State television and radio carried brief items late Monday after the first day of proceedings, while the government mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar newspaper had a report on Tuesday.

It was the biggest story on the back page of the English-language paper, but failed to knock a story about a state transport and agricultural scheme off the front page.

Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial on Monday on charges of breaching her house arrest after John Yettaw, a US national, swam to her lakeside home earlier this month.

Yettaw and the opposition leader’s two aides are also on trial.

The newspaper said that Yettaw now faced a third charge, brought by the Yangon City Council Sanitation Department, of swimming in Inya Lake without permission. He is also charged with breaching security and immigration laws.

The court on Monday heard two witnesses, one in Aung San Suu Kyi’s case and one in Yettaw’s, it said.

The Burmese-language Myanmar Ahlin newspaper also had a report on its back page, which said that after Yettaw entered her compound on May 3, Aung San Suu Kyi "gave him food and let him stay at the house" for two nights.

Both reports gave details of the lawyers for the defendents, their lawyers and the judges.

Neither paper mentioned the fact that the trial was being held behind closed doors in the notorious Insein prison, where Aung San Suu Kyi is being held, only saying that it was taking place at Yangon’s northern district court.

The television and radio reports late Monday had similar details but were brief. They came after several reports about official engagements by members of Burma’s military regime and immediately before the daily weather forecast.


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