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Suu Kyi says Burma’s judicial system is not fair; prevents development

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Burma’s judicial system is not independent and it is distorted and unfair, National League for Democracy (NLD) General-Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi told a press conference at NLD headquarters in Rangoon on Monday.

National League for Democracy (NLD) General-Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi answers questions from local and foreign journalists at a press conference at NLD headquarters in Rangoon on Monday, November 14, 2011. Photo: Mizzima
The press conference was held to talk about events in the country one year after Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.

At the press conference, a journalist asked whether she believed Burma’s judicial system was free and fair. In response, she said that there are political prisoners in Burma so the judicial system is not fair.

“Quite frankly, as many people know, there are political prisoners and that shows [the country] does not have a free and fair judicial system,” Suu Kyi said.
Suu Kyi said that a free and fair judicial system is essential for the sake of law and order and development in the country.

She said there are no political prisoners in countries that have a good judicial system and if the government wants to attract foreign investment and international recognition, it needs to create a free and fair system of law and order.
“Based on the events that have happened this year in our country, I think the prevalence of law and order is very important. Without it, matters regarding [establishing] human rights, [releasing] political prisoners, seeking peace and promoting the economy and social standards cannot be successful. There are no political prisoners in a country that has a good judicial system,” Suu Kyi said.

She said that she would keep working for the release of all political prisoners and it was not only the objective of the NLD but also the objective of all pro-democracy citizens. According to the latest figures compiled by the NLD, there are 591 political prisoners in Burma, she said.

“According to some figures, there are about 2,000 political prisoners. Based on those figures received from outside the country, we made inquires and found that some of those [on the lists] have been released a long time ago. But, we have not conducted comprehensive inquires. Meanwhile, we specify that the number is 591 because we are sure that all of them are in prison,” Suu Kyi said.
Suu Kyi said she believed that President Thein Sein wants the country to be developed and Upper House Speaker Aung Khin Myint’s speech recognizing the 1990 elections result was constructive.

“There is no need to raise questions whether the 1990 elections result is legal or not because it is mentioned in the Burma Gazette. It’s good that the parliamentary speaker said that he recognized that the NLD won in the 1990 elections. It’s obvious that he intended to have a more inclusive political atmosphere. Nothing can be omitted in history. The fact that we won the 1990 elections is a historic event,” she said in the press conference.

Talking about ethnic affairs, she said she was worried about the fighting in Kachin State and a frank and transparent political dialogue in which both parties can exchange views is essential to solve the ethnic problems.

“In our country, all feel the need to establish peace. Especially the fighting in Kachin State makes all citizens very worried and sad,” she said.

Talking about the development of the media and the increasing number of reporters in Burma, she said that there were improvements within the past year but it was not enough and people should not be content. To decide whether the situation has improved or not, observers should look at various categories one by one, she said.

“To talk about developments, I want [all people] to see the cases separately one by one rather than talk generally. For instance, some people may say that the glass is half empty; some may say half full; rather than talking about ‘half empty’ or ‘half full,’ we want people to know exactly what each half [the glass] contains,” Suu Kyi said.

More than 100 journalists including foreign reporters attended the press conference.

Meanwhile, in Seikkantha Township in Rangoon, the Togetherness Education Network held a round-table discussion titled “Aung San Suu Kyi and her Politics,” said Tata, a member of the Togetherness Education Network. An estimated 30 young people, between age 17 and 23, attended the discussion and debated whether the NLD should register as political party or not and contest in the elections.

Members of the NLD central committee from 13 states and regions will meet on Friday at NLD headquarters in Rangoon to decide if it should re-register as a political party.

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