Terrorists accused of trying to disrupt Suu Kyi trial in Myanmar

Friday, August 7, 2009 | 11:16 a.m. CDT

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar's military government on Friday accused overseas opposition groups and terrorists of planning to set off explosions during a visit last month by the U.N. chief and trying to disrupt the ongoing trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Meanwhile, a Missouri man on trial with Suu Kyi for swimming to her lakeside house without permission suffered more epileptic seizures, raising concerns the verdict scheduled for next week could be further delayed.

Security has been increased in Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, over the past several weeks in response to the security threats, national police chief Brig. Gen. Khin Yi said at a news conference. Riot police have been patrolling the city.

He said "external opposition groups and terrorists" had planned to carry out attacks during U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit, as well as near Insein prison, where Suu Kyi's trial is being held. The targets also included buildings of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association, he said.

Khin Yi said authorities have arrested 15 people this year for planning to carry out "demolition activities" in Yangon, Mandalay and other big cities, though he did not say how many were connected to the trial.

Among those arrested was a man identified by police as Htay Aung, who they said was a member of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

Police say Htay Aung was detained July 2 after returning from the Thai border, where he allegedly received demolition training from an anti-government group. Police claimed he was arrested with explosives, detonators and wires.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said he didn't want to comment because he had never heard of Htay Aung.

Khin Yi also said John Yettaw, the 53-year-old from Falcon, Mo., on trial for entering Suu Kyi's house, had three short seizures Friday. On Monday, Yettaw was admitted to Yangon General Hospital after suffering a seizure in prison.

Khin Yi did not elaborate on Yettaw's overall condition.

Yettaw swam uninvited to Suu Kyi's home in May, prompting the government to accuse the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate of violating the terms of her house arrest and the American of helping her to do so. Both Yettaw and Suu Kyi face possible five-year prison terms.

A verdict was scheduled for July 31, but judges said they needed more time to sort through legal issues and rescheduled it for Tuesday.

Lawyers expect another postponement if Yettaw remains hospitalized, reasoning that courts in Myanmar don't generally make rulings in the absence of the accused.

In addition to epilepsy, Yettaw reportedly suffers from diabetes and other health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder from his time in the U.S. military.

Since he was taken into custody in early May, he has been on liquid diets on eight occasions totaling 62 days, Khin Yi said.

Yettaw, a devout Mormon, told prison authorities that he was fasting because of his religious beliefs and was not on a hunger strike, Khin Yi said.

Critics say the ruling military has seized upon Yettaw's bizarre intrusion as an excuse to keep Suu Kyi jailed through next year's elections, the country's first in nearly two decades. Khin Yi called the allegation "baseless."

The charges against Suu Kyi, who has been detained for 14 of the last 20 years, have refocused international outrage on Myanmar, which has been ruled by its military since 1962.


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kind religion August 7, 2009 | 12:55 p.m.

Myanmar's military government is a terrorists.
They are the one killing Burmese people.

(Report Comment)
kind religion August 7, 2009 | 12:56 p.m.

Than Shwe and the gang of tugs are the terrorists.

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