Rights lawyers Supreme Court advocates U Aung Thein and U Khin Maung Shein were both released after
serving their full sentences. Supreme Court advocates U Aung Thein and U
Khin Maung Shein were reunited with their families at Bassein and
Myaungmya prisons respectively after serving their four-month terms for contempt of court.
They were last year
imprisoned for contempt of court : see
Aung Thein was in good spirits on his release, saying that it had
been a learning experience for him.
"We sincerely hope that the two lawyers will now be able to
get back to their practices and their family lives without any further
needless harassment," Basil Fernando, director of the Asian Human
Rights Commission, said on hearing the news.
The Hong Kong-based group set up a webpage to highlight the plight
of lawyers in Burma through the
case of Aung Thein and Khin Maung Shein, at http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/burma-lawyers.
The two were jailed simply for performing the wishes of their
clients by withdrawing their powers of attorney on the reason that the
clients "no longer had faith in the judicial process". They
were not given an opportunity to defend themselves against the
Another two lawyers were around the same time sentenced to six
months each for interfering in the work of the court by calling for
government ministers to appear as witnesses. One of them is still serving
his sentence while the other fled to Thailand.
colonial-era contempt of court law has only three sections and no details
on how contempt is to be assessed and heard fairly. The AHRC has
campaigned for proper standards of contempt in countries of Asia.
PLEASE ACT NOW.