'Flagrant' rights violations in Suu Kyi trial: UN experts
KOK (AFP) - Myanmars junta is allowing flagrant rights violations in the trial of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and must ensure proceedings are fair and open, UN human rights experts said.
Media should be granted full access and relevant witnesses must be able to testify in the internationally condemned trial, said five independent United Nations specialists in a joint statement issued late Tuesday in Geneva.
The Nobel laureate faces charges of breaching her house arrest after an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside home in May. Her trial so far has been held mostly behind closed doors at Yangons notorious Insein prison.
So far, the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and her aides has been marred by flagrant violations of substantive and procedural rights, said Leandro Despouy, UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. She is on trial along with two female political assistants who lived with her at her house.
Transparency in the administration of justice is a prerequisite of any state governed by the rule of law, he said.
The statement added that the five experts called upon the authorities of Myanmar to allow the justice system to function in an independent and impartial manner, so as to guarantee an open and fair trial for the defendants, and to grant unfettered media access. Aung San Suu Kyis lawyers on Wednesday launched a bid to allow two key defence witnesses to be reinstated in the trial.
The prison court last month barred all but one of her four defence witnesses but a separate court in Yangon earlier this month ruled that she could call one more person to testify. While this is a significant step forward, the court must ensure that all witnesses who may have relevant evidence are able to testify, Despouy said in the statement.
The National League for Democracy leader has spent 13 of the last 19 years in detention since the junta refused to recognise her partys landslide victory in the countrys last elections, in 1990.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that her house arrest was illegally extended from May 2008.
For this reason Aung San Suu Kyi needs to be released immediately and unconditionally, the experts concluded.