Daily News- November 11- 2002- Monday

  • Myanmar court to hear Ne Win family's death sentence appeal this week
  • Razali says he might step down if reconciliation talks drag too long
  • Indian arms shipment arrives in Rangoon
  • 153 anti-govt members surrender in Burma
  • Activists reactions on Pinheiro report
  • Daw aung San suu Kyi's video-recorded message shown at ministerial conference of the Community of Democracies

  • Myanmar court to hear Ne Win family's death sentence appeal this week

    YANGON, Nov 10 (AFP) - Myanmar's Supreme Court will Tuesday hear an appeal against death sentences handed to the son-in-law and three grandsons of former dictator Ne Win for plotting to overthrow the junta, legal sources said.

    Military intelligence spokesman Brigadier General Than Tun said last week that the Supreme Court had accepted the submissions lodged by defence lawyers and that the hearing would be held in the second week of November.

    "The appeals submitted within the specified period were duly accepted and hearings are to begin soon," he told AFP. Legal sources said Sunday that the Supreme Court would hear the case on Tuesday.

    Than Tun said Ne Win, who is aged in his 90s, was in reasonably good health. "He's OK. After all, he's being personally looked after by his own daughter who is a qualified doctor," he said.

    Since the arrests of the four men in March, Ne Win and his daughter Sandar Win -- reputedly the brains behind the prominent family -- have been held under virtual house arrest at their Yangon home.

    On September 26 a special tribunal set up in the notorious Insein jail complex on the outskirts of the capital convicted Sandar Win's husband Aye Zaw Win and their three sons for "conspiring against the state".A separate tribunal on the same day found 23-year-old grandson Kyaw Ne Win -- the head of the family's extensive business empire -- guilty of a string of economic offences and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on each.

    The case remodelled Myanmar's political landscape and exploded the widespread belief that the "Old Man" remained extremely influential despite standing down in 1988 after a quarter-century in power.

    The junta said the family had grown disgruntled at losing their economic and political privileges as their patriarch's power waned, and had used black magic and voodoo dolls as part of their plot to seize power.

    Most observers doubt they were seriously attempting to mount a takeover, but believe the current regime installed 14 years ago, now known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), wanted to demonstrate it is firmly in charge.

    Analysts also say they expect that the death sentences will not be carried out as the current regime has not presided over any executions. The last person accused of treason was hung in the 1970s, under Ne Win's regime.

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    Razali says he might step down if reconciliation talks drag too long

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - The U.N. special envoy who helped initiate reconciliation talks between Burma's military government and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has suggested he might step down if discussions drag too long, a news report said Monday.

    "If I step down, it would be because it takes too much time, and if I think I am not going anywhere with the discussions," Razali Ismail told the Malaysiakini news Internet site ahead of his ninth visit to Burma.

    "If it just goes on and on, I may decide to step down," Razali, a former Malaysian diplomat, was quoted as saying. "It has been going on in my mind how long more, how long more?"

    Razali's secretary said he was in meetings throughout Monday and would not be available for comment before leaving Tuesday for Rangoon, his first trip to Burma since August.

    A Malaysiakini journalist contacted by The Associated Press confirmed that Razali made the comments to her in an interview Friday.

    Razali was appointed special U.N. envoy in April 2000. His mediation helped secure Suu Kyi's release from 19 months of house arrest in May, but she has since said Burma's military government won't resume dialogue with her.

    During his visit this week, Razali is expected to meet with government leaders, Suu Kyi, senior members of her National League for Democracy party and leaders of ethnic minority groups.

    Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations. The military allowed elections in 1990, but never stepped aside when Suu Kyi's party won.

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    Indian arms shipment arrives in Rangoon

    Source : Asian Tribune

    The Indian authorities handed over weapons and ammunition to the SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) army in Tamu on 2 November reports Democratic Voice of Burma(DVB) in its broadcast from Oslo, Norway.

    According to DVB A contingent led by the Indian military attache to Burma, Col S F Pibirao and the deputy commander from Imphal based Indian battalion handed over 30 truckloads of weapons and ammunition including heavy artillery shells.

    The weapons shipment was accepted by the SPDC army delegation led by Kalemyo based Brig-Gen Tin Maung Oo, General Staff Officer Grade-1 Lt Col Tin Aung, and Commander of No 365 Artillery Battalion Maj Aung Zin Oo and then taken to Kalemyo. Regarding the transfer of weapons and ammunition, border sources say it is not clear whether the shipment was an aid from the Indian government or whether it was purchased by the SPDC.

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    153 anti-govt members surrender in Burma

    Source : Xinhua News agency

    Rangoon, Nov. 11 -- Altogether 153 remnants of the Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP), a former Burma anti-government ethnic armed group which made peace with the government over seven years ago, laid down their arms to the government forces on Saturday.

    These members, who "exchanged arms for peace" with the government forces in the eastern Loikaw region command area, brought along with them 81 assorted arms and 257 rounds of ammunition, sources at the Ministry of Defense said on Monday.

    The KNPP, with its main force numbering 7,750, returned to the legal fold in March 1995.

    A total of 17 anti-government armed groups in Burma have reached ceasefire agreements with the government since 1989.

    However, it is reported that there are still over 10 anti-government groups in operation in the country including the Kayin National Union, Chin National Army, Shan United Revolutionary Army,Arakan Liberation Party and Lahu Democratic Front.

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    Activists reactions on Pinheiro report

    Source : Asian Tribune

    Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma express his concerns about slow release of political prisoners, the condition of Burma's prisons and the humanitarian conditions and security situation of civilians and refugees living in border areas, particularly in the Shan state at the UN general assembly in New York, on Nov 6, 2002.

    Democratic Voice of Burma, asked the views of political activists inside and outside Burma on the report of Pinheiro at the UN General Assembly.

    Here is the views of NCGUB's UN representative, Dr. Thaung Tun:

    Dr Thaung Tun : Concerning some subjects; the terms used by Pinheiro, his approaches there is a little concern of being dubious. Especially, regarding the current situation of Burma we are going through a very delicately period and it should be handled very carefully and the like. When it comes to this, there are some elements that suggest that the SPDC are exploiting this kind of scenario using only what they want. The SPDC can't progress with the way they want, the speed they want, they way they want. During the transition period to democracy, we need to consult and discuss with each other, on when and which level we should progress. Another thing is he used the terms such as 'not to isolate SPDC but to engage with them more', but he is not saying that the SPDC should be helped economically, monetarily and the like. He means that people from international communities should visit Burma and meet Burmese people to push for talks. But, when it comes to taking action, we need to pressurise the SPDC to create a circumstance so that people can act from Burma .

    U Cin Shin Htang, Chairman of Zomi National Congress gave his reaction as followed:

    U Cin Shin Htang : Our view is - he didn't do [prepare] things accurately for the report. We feel that he just bungled the whole thing and we are not very satisfied with it.

    Htet Aung Kyaw :Yes. He did include some details, didn't he? What we mean is can't you say that compared to previous reports, there are some progress?

    U Cin Shin Htang : If you compare it to previous occasions, there are a few improvements. We told them many things when they came to meet us, but he omitted many things and we are all silenced. Compared to previous occasions things are much better now, of course.

    Htet Aung Kyaw : Yes. Another thing is you must have heard it too. The ASEAN is holding meetings at the moment. All members are saying that talks should be resumed as quickly. But what SPDC foreign minister U Win Aung is saying is that if you are doing it quickly, we will all be in trouble. We must do it slowly and the like. What do you have to say on this matter?

    U Cin Shin Htang : What I have to say is even now, being fast means being so long. You can't say it that it's fast. It's so slow. Act quite quickly. There is no danger. If you solve all the current problems of Burma quite quickly talks and democratic transitions and the like if you take action on these matters quickly, you will solve them quickly. Things are becoming more complicated and worryingly dangerous because things are not done quickly.

    We also asked him about up coming visit of US special envoy Razali to Burma.

    Htet Aung Kyaw :Yes. Razali is coming to Burma on the 12th of November this coming Tuesday. We heard that he is meeting ethnic leaders. If you meet him, what do you plan to tell him?

    U Cin Shin Htang : Giggle. If we are meeting him again, the numbers of time we have met him will not be very few it must be about nine times. After meeting many times, things are still the same. What is happening? Are we going to go on like this? We have nothing much to say to him except to say to tell him that situations are not particularly better.

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    Daw aung San suu Kyi's video-recorded message shown at ministerial conference of the Community of Democracies

    Source : korea herald News

    The second ministerial conference of the Community of Democracies (CD) began its two-day session in Seoul yesterday, bringing together 112 countries and international organizations, including 37 minister-level officials. Participants in the opening ceremony included President Kim Dae-jung, East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky.

    Dobriansky attended the conference on behalf of Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had canceled his trip due to diplomatic tensions with Iraq and other issues.

    President Kim, addressing the ceremony that took place at the COEX Convention Center in southern Seoul, singled out war, terrorism and poverty as the biggest obstacles to the world's efforts to spread and strengthen democracy.

    "Persisting on poverty challenges the ultimate goal of democracy - human dignity and decent living conditions," Kim said.

    "Zealots have manipulated despair and anger resulting from poverty into religious and racial issues to incite terrorism and unrest," Kim said.

    The opening session feature video-recorded messages from world leaders, such as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's dissident leader and Czech President Vaclav Havel.

    Under the major theme, "Democracy: Investing for Peace and Prosperity," participants held four separate roundtable discussions on various sub-agendas.

    The topics included the consolidation of democratic institutions, regional cooperation to promote democracy, media and democracy, and the coordination of democratic assistance.

    President Kim later hosted a dinner for some of the delegates at Cheong Wa Dae.

    The forum is scheduled to adopt today the "Seoul Action Plan" on democracy and a joint statement opposing international terrorism, officials said.

    The ministerial conference of the CD, a league of about 95 democratic governments, started in Warsaw in June 2000, which drew senior officials from 107 countries around the world.

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