Toward Democracy, Human Rights and Federalism

Friday, February 3, 2012

NCGUB Censures Regime Over Jailing of Lawyers

Monday, November 10 2008, 11:12 AM EST

Press Release
November 7, 2007

The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) is deeply concerned by the recent spate of attacks on lawyers defending human rights and political activists in Burma. Blatantly twisting the law to its advantage, the Burmese generals have been imprisoning well-known lawyers who have been defending members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and outstanding democracy and human rights and political activists.

Young lawyers Nyi Nyi Htwe and Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min who tried to call a government minister as a witness in a case against two people accused of demonstrating against the military regime were handed jail terms of six months each. Veteran lawyers U Aung Thein and U Khin Maung Shein were also jailed four months each for so-called "contempt of court" even though they were simply informing the court that their clients had asked them to stop their representation because the clients "no longer have faith in the judicial proceedings" and no longer want to be tried by that court.

In a similar vein, nine members of the 88 Generation Students Group, including Min Ko Naing, were jailed six months each for "contempt of court".

The military junta's decision to intimidate, harass, and persecute the lawyers is evidently premeditated since the enforcement of these unlawful actions came simultaneously with restrictions being increased on political detainees inside prisons as well as during court proceedings. Family members of defendants linked to political cases are barred from attending courts, and defendants are handcuffed and chained in courts and treated like convicts even though the court have not ruled on their cases yet.

The latest round of abuses clearly indicates that there can be no rule of law, now or in the future, as long as the intolerant and insecure Burmese generals are in control of the country.

The NCGUB strongly condemns the Burmese generals for their blatant disregard for the law and calls on all governments, international institutions and human rights organizations to take the strongest action possible not only to gain release the unjustly imprisoned lawyers but all political prisoners who are being detained and persecuted for their political beliefs.

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