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ATTORNEY URGENT ALERT

 

BURMA

 

31 October 2008

 

Defence lawyer

Nyi Nyi Htwe

and

Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min 

arrested

for defending youth activists attending a prayer meeting to call for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nyi Nyi Htwe

sentenced to six months’ imprisonment

 

Source : Naw Say Phaw (DVB) ant OBSERVATOIRE MMR 002 / 1008 / OBS 174.1

 

 

 

  Defence lawyer Nyi Nyi Htwe and three of his clients have been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment each for interrupting court proceedings, according to a friend of those jailed.

Young lawyer Nyi Nyi Htwe, who often represents youth activists, was arrested on October 29, 2008 by the police due to his participation in the defence of 11 youth members from Hlaing Thar Yar Township, Rangoon, of the National League for Democracy (NLD)

Ko Nyi Nyi Htwe was summoned to face trial on October 17 and  was charged under section 228 of the penal code along with Yan Naing Htun, Myo Kyaw Zin and Me Htwe (also known as Aung Min).

The hearing was fixed for October 30 by the North District Court, but he was arrested on October 29 before the trial date. The North District Court Judge U Thaung Nyunt sentenced Ko Nyi Nyi Htwe to six months in prison under section 228 of the Penal Code

 

Another lawyer, Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, was declared   as an absconder, after which he issued an arrest warrant against him.  on 31 october 2008. He is now in hiding.

 

Exiled based 'Myanmar Youth Lawyers Law Firm' and 'International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and 'World Organization against Torture' OMCT released a statement yesterday calling for immediate release of Ko Nyi Nyi Htwe and demanded guarantee of his physical and psychological well being by the junta. The statement also demanded an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Mr. Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min as well as against all human rights defenders in Burma, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other related international instruments in guaranteeing the human rights and fundamental rights which are in force in Burma.

 

 

Nyi Nyi Htwe and Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min were defending 11 youth activists who were arrested in September 2008 for having peacefully marched towards the Shwe Dagon Pagoda on June 19, 2007, on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, wearing T-shirts with a picture of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on them. The 11 were were arrested after attending a prayer meeting to call for the release of detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

A friend of the defendants said when he had arrived at the court for their hearing he had found out that they had already been sentenced.

“I want to say that the defendants should have the opportunity to defend themselves and should have the right to a lawyer and a fair hearing,” the friend said.

“But this is not happening – they have already been sentenced,” he went on.

“In my opinion, they are deliberately oppressing political activists and those lawyers who are working for political activists.”

In an interview conducted after the lawyers were charged on Friday, Nyi Nyi Htwe told DVB he felt the charges were deliberate intimidation.

“As a lawyer who handles political cases, I feel this is deliberate pressure,” Nyi Nyi Htwe said.

“I already knew that my legal licence was not secure and that we could end up in jail at any time,” he said.

“We didn’t expect [to be charged], but now it’s happened I’m not really afraid of going to jail or losing my licence – I’m already expecting it.”

In a similar case, nine activists including 88 Generation Students leader Min Ko Naing were sentenced to six months in prison for interrupting judicial proceedings.

 

Background information:

Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Mr. Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min are the defence lawyers of the 11 NLD young protesters arrested during their march and released on the next day by the authorities. One year later, they were arrested again, charged with an offense for instigation to public unrest, and brought to trial before the Hlaing Thar Yar Township Court.

The 11 defendants and their two lawyers submitted a complaint to the judge to address the violations of their rights, as, since the beginning of the trial, their lawyers have not been allowed to meet with their clients in private, the judge have not allowed them sufficient time to make counter questions against the prosecution witnesses, and their family members have not been allowed to attend the court hearings. Reportedly, the police and some plain-cloth persons have also been taking pictures and recording their voices during these hearings.

During the trial, three defendants, Messrs. Yan Naing Tun, Myo Kyaw Zin and Aung Min Naing (aka) Mee Thwe argued that they were released in June 2007 by the authorities, who claimed then that the authorities considered them as sons and daughters and gave them great forgiveness. Therefore, these three defendants requested the judge to summon Maj-Gen Maung Oo (Minister of Home Affairs) and Brig-Gen Khin Yee (Chief of Police) as their defence witnesses. The judge refused to their request and asked their lawyers, Messrs. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min to control their clients. The two lawyers answered that they were to follow instruction made by their clients. Then the Prosecutor decide to sue the two lawyers along with Messrs. Yan Naing Tun, Myo Kyaw Zin and Aung Min Naing (aka) Mee Thwe, under Section 228 of the Penal Code[1] and issued a warrant to arrest Messrs. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min. Therefore, Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe was arrested.

 

Action requested:

 

Please write to the Burmese authorities urging them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Mr. Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min;
  2. Release Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it merely aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;
  3. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Mr. Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min as well as against all human rights defenders in Burma;
  4. Conform with above-mentioned Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, as well as with Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the [...] Declaration”;
  5. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Burma.

 

Addresses:

  • Mr. Aye Maung, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, 101 Pansodan Street, Kyauktada Township, Yangon, Myanmar, Fax: + 95 1 371 028/ 282 449 / 282 990
  • Lt Sein Thein, Prime Minister, c/o Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road, Yangon, Myanmar, Tel: + 95 1 372 681; Fax: + 95 1 652 624
  • Minister for Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, No. 10 Naypyidaw, Myanmar; Tel: +95 67 412 040/ 069/ 072; Fax: +95 67 412 016/ 439; E-mail: ddg.gad@gad.gov.mm

 

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Burma in your respective countries.

 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

 

 

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