Myanmar arrests 15 dissidents on bomb charges

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    Myanmar arrests 15 dissidents on bomb charges
    Fri Aug 7, 2009 8:23am EDT

    YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar said Friday 15 dissidents had been arrested over a plot to carry out bombings during U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit to the country last month.

    Police acting on a tip-off arrested dissident Htay Aung on July 2, the day before Ban's visit, and seized detonators, cable and TNT explosives, national police chief, Brigadier General Khin Yi, said.

    "There are those who do not want to see prevalence of peace and stability in our country," he told a news conference.

    Khin Yi said the suspect had planned to leave bombs at three locations around Yangon's Insein Prison, where opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was being held in a guesthouse during her trial on security charges.

    Ban visited Myanmar from July 3-4 but spent less than one day in Yangon after meeting the regime's top generals in the new capital, Naypyidaw. His request to visit Suu Kyi in prison was denied by junta supremo Than Shwe.

    Suu Kyi faces five years in prison for allowing American intruder John Yettaw to stay at her home for two nights in May after he swam across the Inya lake to warn her she would be assassinated by "terrorists."

    Khin Yi said further investigation into the bomb plot had led to the arrest of 14 others from various dissident groups. He did not say why police had taken to long to announce the arrests.

    Bomb explosions are fairly common in Myanmar. The junta, which has ruled the former Burma for almost half a century, usually blames dissident groups, pro-democracy activists or ethnic rebels fighting for autonomy.

    Khin Yi also announced that 20 police officers had been demoted, some given jail terms, for allowing Yettaw to breach security on two occasions, which included his visit to Suu Kyi's home on May 4.

    All the policemen were transferred and an undisclosed number of lower-ranking officers imprisoned for three months.

    A verdict on Suu Kyi's case is due on August 11.

    (Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Martin Petty and Sanjeev Miglani)
    Myanmar arrests 15 dissidents on bomb charges | International | Reuters

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