By THE IRRAWADDY
Win Tin, a leader of the National League for Democracy, spoke to The Irrawaddy regarding the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Question: Do the authorities have a strong case against Aung San Suu Kyi?
Answer: I don’t think so. This is a conspiracy. The matter of her security is totally in their hands. If the authorities don’t open up the compound, no person can enter it. At this time, they [the authorities] have rejected her appeal and even charged her with another case. I believe that it is a conspiracy. I believe they did it because they don’t want to release her. They want to ban her from being involved in politics in the future.
Q: What do you think will be the outcome of the trial?
A: Ideally, they want to put her into prison. But politically, they can’t do that. The international community is voicing its concern and even demanding she be released. We [the NLD] also don’t accept the charges and demand she be released.
If the case proceeds, we demand justice during the court process. The court must open up to the public so people can witness the court process. They must allow enough lawyers to defend her in court. It means that the number of lawyers must be enough not only for the defense at court but also for the legal preparation, to collect data and facts on the case.
A fair trial would allow the families of the defendants as well as the public to observe. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has sons in England. They should issue visas for them to come to Burma. Likewise, the family of Daw Khin Khin Win lives abroad. The authorities must allow them to come here if they wish. Even if the family members are foreign citizens, they must issue visas.
Media must be allowed to report the case. Journalists should have the right to ask the defense lawyers and the prosecutor questions. They should have the right to ask the opinions of people who come to the court to see the trial.
Another issue is security. We can’t say that the security is good, and they won’t threaten her security even in the courtroom set-up in the prison compound. They must guarantee Daw Suu’s security. They must also guarantee the security of her lawyers.
Q: In the past 20 years, Aung San Suu Kyi has been attacked and detained for many years. She has been under house arrest for more than 13 years. What is her mental state?
A: I didn’t see her, but [her lawyer] U Kyi Win saw her. What I first want to say is to repeat the comments of U Kyi Win: Daw Suu is mentally strong and firm in her stand. Regarding the case [of John W. Yettaw], she clearly told her lawyer that she didn’t breach any laws. Based on these facts, Daw Suu’s position is strong and firm. Although I haven’t seen her for years, based on our past experiences and her political stance and sacrifice during these 20 years, I can say that she will never feel depressed and give up or change her political stance.
Q: Why do you think the government wants to continue to detain her?
A: The truth is that it’s because of Daw Suu’s personal fame and the world’s recognition of her position. She has become the main enemy of the military regime. But putting aside personal fame and looking at things from the point of view of current politics, the situation has largely changed. In the past, we asked for a parliament to draw up a constitution in accordance with the 1990 election results, which we have consistently supported. Now, we recently called for parliament to review the constitution and for a dialogue [with the military]. We changed our position to be flexible in order to bring about a dialogue.
Daw Suu has been in a very important position for solving political problems through the dialogue method since 1988. Gen Saw Maung pointed out the importance of arranging a dialogue when there are many parties involved. Many parties gave their mandate to Daw Suu to engage in dialogue with the military. The NLD also gave its mandate to her. Even today, if we have a dialogue with the military regime, I think all ethnic nationalities will want her to speak on behalf of them.
Daw Suu is a key player if we are to solve the current political situation through a dialogue. Therefore, the present charges against Daw Suu mean that they [the generals] are trying to eliminate her from the stage. I feel that they are trying to destroy the possibility of political dialogue and national reconciliation by political means.
Q: Dr Tin Myo Win, Aung San Suu Kyi’s family doctor, was detained for nearly a week. How is he related to this case?
A: At first, we heard that Dr Tin Myo Win had also been brought to court and that there would be five persons in this case. But he was not on the list. Perhaps, he was under interrogation and was tortured. He has endured such an experience in the past. I am worried that they are putting pressure on Dr Tin Myo Win to say things that they want him to say. Or they will prosecute him with other charges because this case can only warrant three to five years imprisonment.
Another option is that they can put Dr Tin Myo Win on the witness list. If so, we are not worried about him because he is not a person who is easily persuaded to say what others wish. We know his political beliefs and opinions, and his personal history. We also respect him. We are not worried about that.
If they brought him to the court as a witness, he would tell what really happened. What he did is not much; Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told him to report Yettaw’s first entry last year to the authorities, and he went to the Home Ministry to report it. He has no more than that to say. We don’t expect him to say he had a personal encounter with Yettaw.