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Burma: Overturn 6 Month Sentence of Human Rights Defender and Lawyer Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min

By Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma  •  August 30, 2012

AAPP is calling on the U Thein Sein administration in Burma to overturn the 6 month sentence of Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min: a human rights defender, lawyer for political prisoners, and former leading member of the National League for Democracy – Youth (NLD-Youth).

This is the first sentencing of an exile who returned to Burma after an olive branch was extended to Burma communities living in exile. The unfortunate case of Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min shows that when it comes to human rights, the government of Burma still cannot be trusted.

Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, 32 years old, was originally accused of contempt of court while he and two other defense lawyers were defending 11 NLD clients in an October 2008 judicial proceeding. When another defense lawyer failed to appear on time, the judge forced a defendant to question the prosecuting police officer by himself. To protest the unfair and prejudiced trial process, 3 of the defendants turned their backs to the court. Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min was accused with contempt when he refused the judge’s orders to reign in his client’s behavior in saying, “We don’t want to forbid our clients from doing anything…we are defense lawyers and we act according to our clients’ instructions.”

Fearing arrest for the third time, Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min fled to Thailand in October 2008 where he continued to work on promoting and assisting in implementing the rule of law in Burma. He was thus sentenced in absentia to the maximum punishment allowed under Section 228 of the penal code. He received his sentence on 29 August by the Rangoon Northern District Court and is now in the notoriously overcrowded Insein prison.

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This post is in: Press Release

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