CASE 47/2009 sounds mundane enough. But, as this case unfolds, the future of a nation is in the balance. The number is the file reference of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial in Insein Prison in Rangoon, which started on May 18. The entire world knows the charges are trumped up and that the military regime is simply seeking to find a neat means of locking up the democracy leader again. Yet, inexplicably, we watch as the trial goes on. Here is a moment when the international community must pause and consider the history that is unfurling around it. Now is the time for world governments and organizations to act and to end the 47-year-long military dictatorship in Burma.
The facts are that Aung San Suu Kyi's period of house detention was due to come to an end on May 27. This period of incarceration should be deemed illegal not only in relation to international law, but in contravention of Burma's own legal statutes and by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. So, finding a "legal" means of locking up Aung San Suu Kyi again, and to deny her any connection with elections planned in 2010, became an imperative for the junta.
Dr Thaung Htun is the UN representative for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma -- the government in exile.
[That OpEd also appeared in the South China Morning Post on 26 May, 2009.]