Tag Archives: Burma

Burma: Myanmar court imprisons detained opposition official’s lawyer for 15 years

28/12/22

Ywat Nu Aung, who represented the NLD’s vice chair, is sentenced to 15 years with hard labor.

A secret court in Myanmar on Wednesday sentenced the lawyer representing a leader of the former ruling political party to 15 years in prison with hard labor, according to an attorney with knowledge of the country’s judicial proceedings.

The military tribunal in Mandalay’s Obo Prison sentenced Ywat Nu Aung, who represented Zaw Myint Maung, a vice chair of the National League for Democracy Party, on charges of aiding a terrorist organization, the attorney told Radio Free Asia, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. 

The move is the latest by the military junta, which took control of the government in a February coup, to target political opponents and anyone representing them. At least six Mandalay lawyers representing NLD members have been arrested.

Ywat Nu Aung, 43, was arrested on April 27 and convicted of abetting terrorists after the chief of the Mandalay police brought a lawsuit against her, accusing her of providing 300,000 kyats, or about U.S.$140, to the Mandalay People’s Defense Force, a regional anti-junta resistance group.

Prior to her arrest, Ywat Nu Aung, who is also a human rights lawyer, was handling the cases of regional government officials and NLD members. 

She also represented the victim of the so-called Victoria case, a widely followed incident of child rape in the capital of Naypyidaw.

In July, sources close to the legal community told RFA that Tin Win Aung, U Thuta, and an unidentified person – three lawyers who were representing clients in anti-regime political cases – had been arrested in Mandalay on their return from working at Obo Prison’s court. 

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/lawyer-12282022173356.html

https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/advocate-ywat-nu-aung-charged-with-counter-terrorism-law

Burma: PDF battalion under investigation for death of Sagaing lawyer

09/12/22

Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) has confirmed that it is investigating the death of a lawyer who was detained in Sagaing Region late last week by People’s Defence Force (PDF) troops under its command.

The lawyer, 50-year-old San San Yi, was reportedly returning to her home in Shwebo from a courthouse in Kanbalu last Thursday when her vehicle was intercepted by members of Kanbalu PDF Battalion 4.

She was then taken into custody for “questioning” along with her driver and another woman, but only the other two were released the following day, according to sources.

On Monday, her family filed a complaint with the NUG’s Northern Region Military Command, only to learn from a person close to resistance forces in the area that she was dead.

The person who informed San San Yi’s family of her death told Myanmar Now that he believed the lawyer died the day after her arrest.

“The supervisors of the local PDF groups didn’t even know that she had been killed. We only found out at around 10pm on December 5, from sources on the ground, that she was dead,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He added that he contacted Duwa Faw Yan Naw Taung, the Battalion 4 commander, who said he was away on the day of the incident, but would accept full responsibility for any wrongdoing under his command.

[…]

https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/pdf-battalion-under-investigation-for-death-of-sagaing-lawyer

https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/nug-opens-probe-into-brutal-killing-of-woman-by-members-of-its-resistance-force

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/myanmar-democracy-leader-says-2000-dead-fighting-junta-urges-military-aid-2022-12-01/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Defence_Force_(Myanmar)

Burma: Myanmar’s Lawyers Face Increasing Junta Threats

03/11/22

Myanmar’s defense lawyers for political detainees are facing increased threats from the junta which has carried out arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings since last year’s coup.

The junta supporters watch them and encourage their arrest. There were calls for the arrest of a female lawyer who posted condolences on social media after the mother of her jailed client was killed in October’s blasts and junta shooting at the parcel drop-off at Yangon’s Insein Prison.

Lawyers say they can no longer express compassion for the death of innocent civilians.

A pro-junta Telegram post said: “Isn’t it too dangerous not to do anything to lawyers that support terrorism? Aren’t you concerned that they would spy on confidential information at government law offices and leak it to terrorist state-destroyers? That lawyer should be interrogated. Her red Facebook profile means she does not care about the current government.”

Red is the color of the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD).

At least 20 lawyers have been charged with terrorism and incitement since the coup for joining anti-regime protests and for having alleged links to the National Unity Government (NUG), which has been labeled a terrorist organization.

[…]

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/political-prisoners-tortured-for-marking-3-month-anniversary-of-executions

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/military-detains-three-more-lawyers-representing-junta-opponents-in-mandalay

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/as-junta-squeezes-courts-myanmars-lawyers-are-forced-to-face-their-worst-fears

https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/justice-denied-as-regime-targets-activists-lawyers/

Burma/Myanmar: Justice denied as regime targets activists’ lawyers

30/08/22

A vindictive junta is further undermining rule of law by cracking down on lawyers who represent victims of political persecution. Some of them now face the prospect of lengthy prison terms just for doing their jobs.

Yangon lawyer Ko Tun Tun Win* never thought he’d be at risk of arrest because of his career, but that changed after the coup when he began taking on pro bono work for arrested activists.

“I only know how to be a lawyer, that’s why I chose to work for free on behalf of detained activists,” said Tun Tun Win, who is in his mid-30s and has been practising for 15 years. “I’ve been successful in my career and my parents are proud of my work as a lawyer,” he told Frontier on August 11.  

The relentless persecution of activists and ordinary citizens who oppose the coup has coincided with a stream of arrests of the people who try to defend them in what passes for a legal system under the junta.

Lawyers such as Tun Tun Win now live in fear of being arrested by the military at all times.

“My family and I feel insecure. I have to be prepared to be arrested by the military,” he said. “Sometimes I see police trucks near my home and I think they are coming to arrest me.”

The arrests of lawyers began in April 2021, just two months after the coup, generally targeting those defending protest leaders or members of the ousted National League for Democracy government.

“The military made these arrests on purpose. They want to create fear among lawyers who are defending political prisoners,” said Mandalay-based lawyer Ko Myint Tun*.

Lawyers defending detained activists and politicians are usually charged with incitement under section 505A of the Penal Code, for which the maximum penalty is three years’ imprisonment. The charge has emerged as the junta’s preferred catch-all form of legal persecution since the coup. Radio Free Asia reported that 27 lawyers have been detained since the coup, including some of the nation’s best-known lawyers, some of whom are facing even more serious charges.

[…]

https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/justice-denied-as-regime-targets-activists-lawyers/

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/08/un-expert-calls-action-against-myanmar-military-anniversary-atrocities

Burma: As junta squeezes courts, Myanmar’s lawyers are forced to face their worst fears

19/08/22

Even as they face threats to their own safety and freedom, some lawyers remain committed to representing political prisoners

Mei Aye, a lawyer who visits Yangon’s Insein Prison at least twice a week for court appearances, has a ritual that she follows on the days that she has to pass through the gates of Myanmar’s most notorious detention centre.

The first thing she does is tell someone she trusts about her unfinished business. And then she makes a point of saying goodbye to all her loved ones, mindful of the fact that she might not see them again for a very long time.

She says she does this as a way of dealing with the crippling anxiety she often feels about the perils of her job defending political prisoners. This is because she knows all too well how easily she, too, could end up behind bars.

“I have to do these things in case I don’t get to come home from work one day. I never know when I will be taken away to an interrogation centre,” she explains.

As a defence attorney with 10 years of experience, Mei Aye is no stranger to prisons, which she says hold no real terror for her. But interrogation centres are another matter—she has seen too many of her clients after they have emerged from them not to live in fear of what happens behind their closed doors.

I never know when I will be taken away to an interrogation centre

Many are badly bruised or scarred, she says, and some even have open wounds that testify to the brutality of the regime’s techniques for extracting information.

“I’m not a doctor, so I can’t really say how serious their injuries were. But I could see that they had been really severely beaten. And I am afraid of having to face the same fate,” she says.

Currently working on 28 political cases, Mei Aye deals with clients facing charges that range from incitement to terrorism and possession of explosive devices. In the eyes of Myanmar’s military, that makes her an object of suspicion, too.

[…]

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/as-junta-squeezes-courts-myanmars-lawyers-are-forced-to-face-their-worst-fears

https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/military-bombs-civilian-area-in-karenni-states-demoso-township-killing-three-people

https://thediplomat.com/2022/07/international-court-of-justice-rejects-myanmar-claims-will-hear-rohingya-genocide-case/

Burma: Myanmar Junta has Arrested Over 40 Lawyers Defending Political Detainees

11/07/22

Myanmar’s military regime has arrested at least 10 more lawyers in the last two weeks who are defending prominent National League for Democracy (NLD) figures and anti-regime protestors, bringing the total number of lawyers detained since last year’s coup to at least 42.

In the most recent case, lawyers Ko Soe Tun Tun Zaw and Ma Aye Mya Yupar from the Tun Law firm in Mandalay were arrested at their office on July 9.

“Their office is opposite Chanayethazan Township court. They were taken from there in private cars,” a fellow Mandalay advocate, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told The Irrawaddy.

He added that the whereabouts of the duo and reason for their arrest remain unknown.

Their detention came just a few days after two other lawyers from Mandalay, Aung Min Thu and Daw Than Than Lwin, were arrested at their homes on July 2.

“They [arrested lawyers] are representing political detainees. I don’t know exactly why they were arrested. Currently, they [regime forces] are targeting lawyers who represent political detainees”, said the Mandalay advocate.

“Lawyers are being arrested continuously, so I have to be very cautious for my own safety,” he added.

On June 29, lawyer Tin Win Aung, who is acting for ousted Mandalay Chief Minister and NLD vice chairman Dr. Zaw Myint Maung in his trial for alleged corruption, his wife and fellow lawyer Thae Su Naing and lawyer Thuta, who represent anti-regime protestors, were arrested leaving Mandalay’s Obo Prison. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

In April, lawyer Ywat Nu Aung, who also represented Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, was also arrested outside Obo Prison.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/three-lawyers-assisting-political-cases-arrested-in-mandalay-07012022055531.html

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/junta-files-terrorism-charges-against-three-detained-journalists-lawyers

https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/06/50th-session-human-rights-council-oral-update-myanmar

Burma: Military detains three more lawyers representing junta opponents in Mandalay 

01/07/22

Junta authorities arrested three more Mandalay-based lawyers representing political detainees on Wednesday as they returned home from court hearings inside the city’s prison, according to sources within the local legal network.

The detainees—identified as Tin Win Aung, his wife Thae Su Naing, and Thuta—were reportedly leaving Obo Prison after attending hearings for their clients within the closed court there. 

Three of their local colleagues spoke to Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity and confirmed their arrests to Myanmar Now. At the time of reporting it was not known where they were being held in junta custody or why they had been specifically targeted.

“We still don’t know the details of their arrests. I only heard that Thuta’s vehicle was also seized,” one of the lawyers said. 

Following the February 2021 military coup, lawyers representing jailed activists and political opponents of the military have also faced threats to their personal security for challenging the practice of arbitrary detentions in a junta-controlled judiciary. 

While the number of lawyers detained across the country is unknown, attorneys in Mandalay said that at least 10 of their colleagues had been arrested since the coup and dozens more are wanted by the military authorities.

[…]

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/military-detains-three-more-lawyers-representing-junta-opponents-in-mandalay

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/three-lawyers-assisting-political-cases-arrested-in-mandalay-07012022055531.html

https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/the-struggle-to-bring-justice-to-myanmar/

Burma: Myanmar dispatch: female lawyer takes her own life after family members taken hostage by junta troops looking for her

13/06/22

Myanmar law students are reporting for JURIST on challenges to the rule of law in their country under the military junta that deposed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. Here, one of our correspondents reports the suicide of a young Myanmar pro-democracy lawyer whose brother and sisters were taken hostage after junta agents came looking for her. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

Myanmar lawyer Daw Phyu Phyu Khaing (age-29) took her own life Sunday after military junta troops arbitrarily abducted her family members and held them as hostages.

According to a neighbour, a group of junta armed forces raided her home in Ohn Chaw Village, Patheingyi Township, at 1 pm on 8th June. The military initially intended to arbitrarily arrest her based on reports from their on-ground informants who said that she was actively involved in protest groups in which lawyers protest against the military junta and that she financially supported People’s Defence Force (PDF) members. However, when they found out she had already fled away, the junta severely tortured her family members who remained at home. Junta agents subsequently abducted a total of three of her family members – her brother and her two sisters – to hold them hostage instead of her. According to informants, her siblings were sent to the interrogation centre inside the Mandalay Royal Palace compound where the junta military has a base.

Even after four days of their detention [yesterday, 12th June], there was no further news about her family members. On that day, Phyu Phyu Khaing tried to take her own life by taking pesticides. A neighbour saw the scene and tried to save her, but due to lack of adequate medical support in the area where she was, she passed away, according to the Mandalay Free Press (MFP). 

[…]

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/06/myanmar-dispatch-female-lawyer-takes-her-own-life-after-family-members-taken-hostage-by-junta-troops-who-were-looking-for-her/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/06/07/myanmar-junta-vows-enforce-death-sentences

https://myanmar-now.org/en/news/lawyer-facing-life-sentence-on-terror-charges-sent-to-obo-prison

Burma: Military junta court sentences Myanmar law student to 20 years imprisonment

03/06/22

Myanmar law students are reporting for JURIST on challenges to the rule of law in their country under the military junta that deposed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. Here, one of our correspondents reports on a junta court’s conviction of a Magway University law student to 20 years imprisonment. The text has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

On 2nd June, the Magway University Student Union (MGUSU) confirmed the news that Ko Hein Zay Ya, a third year law student in western Myanmar’s Magway University, was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment at a trial held on 31st May. Details of the charges laid against him are not yet available.

Since the beginning of the military coup in February 2021, many Myanmar university students have become targets of the military junta for carrying out protests all over the country and standing with the Myanmar public in boycotting the military.

Magway University Interim Administrative Council announced on 20 March that they could confirm news that detained students and lecturers of Magway University were being severely tortured in various ways. According to secret letters sent by the detainees, junta authorities sometimes make them eat the rice mixed with dirt/dust, do not provide enough water and restrict them to take a bath only once a week. Also, juntas force them to walk around with naked feet under the burning sun when the daily temperature is around 95°F in Magway Division during daytime.

Despite being in critical conditions of mental and physical health, the severely injured detainees are not allowed to receive any medical treatment in the prison till now. Therefore, the Interim Council urged for help for the detainees who are suffering both physically and mentally.

In October, junta authorities released Mandalay University law student Theint Sandi Soe and her mother from detention after convicting them to 3-year prison terms in July. They had been detained when junta authorities could not find Theint’s father, a well-known anti-junta activist.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/06/myanmar-dispatch-myanmar-law-student-sentenced-to-20-years-imprisonment/

https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/advocate-ywat-nu-aung-charged-with-counter-terrorism-law

https://www.myanmar-now.org/en/news/lawyer-facing-life-sentence-on-terror-charges-sent-to-obo-prison

https://www.mizzima.com/article/myanmar-junta-arrests-lawyer-defending-former-mandalay-chief-minister-source

Burma/Myanmar: NLD Lawyer Goes Missing Amid Pro-Regime Militia Attacks

28/04/22

A prominent lawyer from the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) Party went missing on Wednesday in Mandalay. It is feared that Daw Ywat Nu Aung has either been arrested by the military regime or kidnapped by a pro-junta group responsible for the recent murders of NLD supporters in Mandalay.

She is part of the legal team acting for ousted Mandalay Chief Minister and NLD vice chairman Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, who is currently on trial in Mandalay’s Obo Prison for alleged corruption.

One of Daw Ywat Nu Aung’s colleagues said she last saw the lawyer on Wednesday, just before she left Dr. Zaw Myint Maung’s trial at the prison.

“I met her just before she left [the prison]. If she was arrested, it could be around 3:30 or 4pm,” said the colleague.

As of Thursday afternoon, the lawyer’s fate is still unknown.

Many suspect that Daw Ywat Nu Aung may have been arrested by the regime because she is defending a high-profile NLD figure.

However, her disappearance comes at a time when Mandalay has been rocked by the extrajudicial killings of NLD members by the Thwe Thout Group, a pro-regime militia. The group has vowed to respond to an anti-junta force’s pledge to attack regime supporters, security forces and their family members.

[…]

https://www.notimerica.com/politica/noticia-birmania-denuncian-desaparicion-influyente-abogada-birmana-ataques-milicias-vinculadas-junta-20220428125154.html (ESPANOL)

https://patrick-henry.avocats.be/?q=node/576 (FRANCAIS)