From 03 May 2000 AP
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and Free Burma Coalition
(Rangoon, Burma) Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers
could face the death penalty or life imprisonment for high treason stemming from alleged links
to outlawed rebel groups, a government newspaper said Tuesday.
A commentary in the Mirror daily accused Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel
Peace Prize, of being "power crazy," trying to block foreign aid and investment, and attempting
to foment disunity among the country's ethnic minorities.
The accusations came as the military regime played host to economic ministers
from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, China and South Korea, its biggest
diplomatic event since Myanmar was admitted into ASEAN in 1997.
The government, often criticized by Western nations for human rights abuses,
has recently arrested members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy for alleged links to
rebel groups that maintain a fading armed struggle against the regime along Burma's border
"There is evidence that Suu Kyi has contacts with dissidents and armed terrorist
groups," the commentary said. Hence "Suu Kyi and her accomplices could face the death penalty or
life imprisonment" for high treason.
The newspaper also said people in Burma were losing confidence in Suu Kyi and
wanted the government to take concrete action against her in the national interest.
Nearly all newspapers in Burma are run by the government. Editorials and
commentaries often rail against Suu Kyi, who was vaulted to world prominence during a bloody,
unsuccessful uprising against military rule in 1988.
Suu Kyi was placed under what became six years of house arrest in 1989, but a year
later her party swept general elections. The military, surprised that parties it had supported
lost, never allowed parliament to convene.
The National League for Democracy espouses nonviolence. According to international
human rights groups, hundreds of its members have been jailed for their political views.
Last week, Aye Thar Aung, a senior party official responsible for issues
related to ethnic minorities, was arrested and reportedly accused of connections to anti-government
The Mirror lashed out at Suu Kyi, whose activities are severely restricted,
for smuggling videotapes out of Myanmar. It said they were sent to international conferences
to discredit the government.
It accused Western embassies of abusing their diplomatic immunity by helping
to smuggle tapes out.
In one interview smuggled out Thursday, Suu Kyi said military authorities
arrested more than 40 NLD youth members in mid-April.
The government said a couple of NLD activists were being questioned for
alleged connections with a "terrorist demolition team" near the Thai border.