Marylander in a Burmese Jail: December 4 Trial Update
Maryland Morning spoke to U Kyi Win this morning; he’s one of two lawyers defending U.S. Citizen Kyaw Zaw Lwin in his trial in Burmese court. The trial is being held inside the country’s Insein prison. Kyaw Zaw Lwin was arrested on September 3rd and charged with traveling with false documents and improperly declaring currency he brought into the country.
U Kyi Win told us that only one prosecution witness–a police officer–was heard from on Friday. He said that one of the most pertinent questions the defense asked the witness was whether he knew that Kyaw Zaw Lwin (who, like many Burmese, also goes by a second name–in this instance it’s “Nyi Nyi Aung”) had visited Myanmar legally seven times prior to the September 3rd trip. The witness was unaware of this. The implication seems to be this: If Kyaw Zaw Lwin had traveled to the country legally seven times, why would he bother traveling with illegal documents on this trip?
Kyaw Zaw Lwin remains handcuffed during his trial hearings, even though the hearings take place inside of a prison. U Kyi Win filed a complaint with the court, requesting that the handcuffs be removed during the trial. The request was denied, and U Kyi Win told us he plans appeal the ruling to a higher court, hopefully before the next hearing this coming Friday.
U Kyi Win also said he heard Kyaw Zaw Lwin was on a hunger strike recently. He didn’t know much about it; we’ll hopefully have an update on that in the next day or two.
Maryland Morning asked U Kyi Win what will happen after all the prosecution witnesses testify. He said, “Nyi Nyi Aung will be examined as a witness or as the accused, that is his choice. If he testifies as the accused then he won’t be cross-examined by the government advocate. If he stands as witness on his own then he will be cross-examined. And we are still pondering who he will show as his defense witnesses.”
He said there is no real way to know how long this trial will take.
Hear the whole interview.