Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Court hears witnesses in trial against Burmese-American

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A special court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison on Friday heard two prosecution witnesses in the trial of Burmese born American Kyaw Zaw Lwin (a.k.a) Nyi Nyi Aung.

Kyi Win, one of the defense attorneys, said the testimony on Friday by an officer of the Rangoon Special Branch Police and an Immigration officer in the special court presided over by a Minglardon Township court judge, were not convincing and were vague.

“But we still have 13 more prosecution witnesses. It would be too early to comment on the case, but so far we cannot call Nyi Nyi Aung guilty,” said Kyi Win, adding that the next hearing has been scheduled for October 30.

The prosecution has charged Nyi Nyi Aung under article 420 and 468, of fraud and forgery. He is accused of possessing a fake Burmese national identity card, where he had allegedly placed his photograph.

“The two prosecution witnesses today produced the Burmese national identity card that was said to have been forged by Nyi Nyi Aung,” said Kyi Win, but he added that the witnesses failed to provide specific answers to several questions, which was unconvincing to the lawyers.

The Burmese born American was arrested on September 3, at the Rangoon International Airport while entering Burma from Bangkok. He was detained and later charged. The US embassy has contacted high court advocates Kyi Win and Nyan Win to defend him.

On Friday, two officials from the US embassy – a consular officer and a Burmese official – attended the hearing. But families of Nyi Nyi Aung, two of his aunts, were barred from entering the court room.

Though Nyi Nyi Aung is accused of fraud and forgery, the Burmese junta’s official mouthpiece, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, accused him of collaborating with activists in exile and trying to instigate unrest in the country.

The newspaper also accused him of providing financial assistance to underground activists inside Burma to carry out explosions in public places.

“None of these are included in the charges,” Kyi Win said.

The Burmese-American was a student activist during the popular 1988 uprising in Burma. But he fled to neighbouring Thailand along with fellow students in the wake of the military crack-down on protesters. He later migrated to Maryland in United States, where he was naturalized as a citizen.

His fellow activists said he had a valid US passport and valid Burmese Visa, provided by the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, before flying to Rangoon.


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