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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08RANGOON648 2008-08-11 08:59:00 SECRET Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

ASSK MEETS LAWYER FOR FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM BM 
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VZCZCXRO7700
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0648/01 2240859
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 110859Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8038
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1446
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4952
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8528
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 6097
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1773
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3973
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1936
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000648 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MLS, DRL, AND IO
PACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM BM
SUBJECT: ASSK MEETS LAWYER FOR FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS

RANGOON 00000648 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: CDA Tom Vajda for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)



1. (S) SUMMARY: Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) met with her
personal lawyer August 8 for the first time in over five
years. According to her lawyer, ASSK appeared physically and
mentally healthy during the two-hour meeting, during which
she focused exclusively on the legal case concerning her
detention. During the private meeting, facilitated by the
Special Branch Police, ASSK asked her lawyer to address the
restrictions placed on her and her two personal assistants as
a consequence of her detention, and she signed a power of
attorney allowing her lawyer formally to appeal her case.
ASSK's lawyer speculated that the regime's decision to allow
the visit was prompted by ASSK's refusal to accept any food
deliveries until she met with him - and not by the visit of
the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur (SEPTEL). END SUMMARY.

LAWYER: THREAT TO DECLINE FOOD DELIVERIES PROMPTED MEETING


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (S) Charge and Pol/Econ Chief met August 11 with ASSK's
personal lawyer U Kyi Wynn (aka Neville), who reported he was
informed by the Special Branch (SB) of the Burmese police
August 7 that he would be permitted to meet with ASSK the
following day. He was asked to come alone and keep the
meeting secret. Neville told us his last meeting with ASSK
had been prior to the Depayin incident in May 2003, in which
pro-regime thugs attacked ASSK's convoy and killed a number
of her supporters. It was after this incident that ASSK was
detained and began her current period of house arrest.
Neville believed the August 8 meeting had had nothing to do
with the recent visit of UN Special Rapporteur Ojea Quintana,
but rather was in response to a long-standing request by
ASSK. The precipitating event, he said, was that she had
recently told the police she would not accept food deliveries
until her request to meet with her lawyer was granted.
Neville said ASSK had had enough food on hand, and that she
had laughingly dismissed the notion that she was on a hunger
strike, saying "I wouldn't starve myself." He added that she
had served cake during their meeting.

ASSK APPEARED STRONG; DISCUSSED LEGAL CASE; SIGNED POA


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (S) Neville said ASSK appeared "pretty strong" and
seemed to him to be both physically and mentally healthy. He
noted that ASSK had done the talking for the majority of
their meeting, which focused exclusively on the legal case
surrounding her detention. She specifically asked Neville to
address four elements of her case: 1) the unlawful/wrongful
nature of her arrest and detention; 2) the legality of the
duration of her detention; 3) the conditions/restrictions of
her detention; and 4) the restrictions placed on her two
personal assistants, Daw Khin Khin Win and her daughter, who
live on ASSK's compound.



4. (S) ASSK had asked that Neville address the latter two
concerns immediately and that he enlist two other lawyers (of
his choosing) to assist him with her case. Neville showed us
a power-of-attorney (POA) form that she had signed, enabling
him to take legal action on her behalf. She noted that her
last medical visit with her doctor (Douglas) had been in
January, and that his post-Nargis visit in May to assess
damage to her property had not been of a medical nature.
Neville told us he planned to write a letter to Special
Branch requesting a medical checkup for ASSK and asking that
SB not restrict the duration of the lawyer's future meetings
with his client.

ASSK "NOT INTERESTED" IN ESTATE CASE


--------------------------





5. (S) When Neville presented ASSK with legal proceedings
regarding the estate case involving her brother, Aung San Oo,
ASSK said she was not at all interested in the case. (NOTE:
Aung San Oo has filed a legal case to evict ASSK from her
house. END NOTE.) When Charge inquired whether ASSK had

RANGOON 00000648 002.2 OF 002


discussed political or other matters, Neville said she had
focused exclusively on the legal case relating to her
detention. He observed that she had not even mentioned the
Depayin incident, even though the two had not met since then.
In response to our specific questions, he said she had not
discussed her sons, the recent POTUS visit to Thailand, or
the plans to award her the Congressional Gold Medal. Neville
said he believed that she had no television but did have a
radio and could listen to VOA, and said she did not ask him
to pass any messages to anyone.



6. (S) Neville noted that he was able to bring documents
both to and from the meeting. He had met briefly with and
been photographed by Special Branch police prior to the
meeting and had fully debriefed Home Ministry officials,
including Special Branch Chief Myint Thein, upon its
conclusion. He planned to write a letter to Special Branch
requesting a medical checkup for ASSK and asking that SB not
restrict the duration of future meetings with his client. He
also told the SB on ASSK's instruction that she would resume
accepting food deliveries.

LAWYER TO FILE NEW APPEAL


--------------------------





7. (S) Neville noted that under Burmese law, ASSK had the
right to appeal her detention, but that three prior attempts
to file an appeal on her behalf had failed. In the most
recent case, for example, authorities in Nay Pyi Taw had
refused to accept the legal paperwork (the mailed package had
been returned unopened). Neville noted that a POA from the
defendant - lacking in the previous instances - was
technically a requirement for an appeal and stated that he
would file a new appeal using the form signed by ASSK at the
August 8 meeting.

COMMENT


--------------------------





8. (S) Neville reiterated to us that although he was a
"co-opted member" of the judicial committee of the NLD, he
was not a party member. His discussion with ASSK had been
purely of a legal, apolitical nature, which, he said, he
himself prefers. He seemed genuinely surprised that after
five years he was finally allowed to meet with his client,
but was unsure when/if a follow-up meeting would be granted.
Neville made clear the regime, even under Burma's own laws,
was holding ASSK illegally, and said he would put forward a
strong legal case in her appeal. It is impossible at this
point to ascertain the regime's motives in allowing this
meeting, but if Neville is correct that GOB officials were
responding to ASSK's threat to cease food deliveries, it
would indicate the regime is at least somewhat aware of the
blowback should such a threat become public knowledge.
VAJDA