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
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
“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.
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
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 and issued a warrant to arrest Messrs. Nyi Nyi Htwe and
Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min. Therefore, Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe was arrested.
Please write to the Burmese
authorities urging them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical
and psychological integrity of Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe and Mr. Saw Kyaw
- Release Mr. Nyi Nyi Htwe immediately and
unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it merely aims
at sanctioning his human rights activities;
- 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
- 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”;
- Ensure in all circumstances respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international
human rights standards and international instruments ratified by
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the
diplomatic representations of Burma in your respective countries.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.