BURMA: Eleven people illegally detained, tortured and tried without evidence


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-016-2010
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Freedom of association, Judicial system, Rule of law, Torture,

Dear friends,

Even as the military government in Burma is preparing for a general election, it is imprisoning more and more groups of people for allegedly setting up illegal organisations. In this appeal we bring you the details of a case that is ongoing against 11 such persons who have all been accused of being members of an unlawful association, and have been arbitrarily detained and tortured.


Police arrested Khine Kyaw Moe and ten other young men in the first week of September 2009 and accused them of joining an outlawed ethnic-based organisation for which they were allegedly getting support from outside of the country. Another seven persons named as defendants in the cases against the detainees have evaded arrest.

Although the week of the arrests is on record, the police did not open a case against the detainees until October 19, and it was not until December 10 that they were remanded in custody. Thus the detainees were held in illegal custody for over three months. During this time they were allegedly tortured to extract confessions.

The police have accused the defendants of having had contact with illegal groups abroad, of having joined an illegal group and having received financial support for their activities, and of trading in drugs and explosives. But they have no evidence to link any of the accused to the alleged crimes.

The police have also linked this case to that of American citizen Kyaw Zaw Lwin, who was likewise arrested and tortured in the first week of September, and on whose case the AHRC has already released an appeal: AHRC-UAC-004-2010; however, none of the contents or evidence of that case appear to match those in this one.

The case against these accused is ongoing. Full details of the victims, charges and officials involved are provided in the sample letter below, as usual.


This case is reminiscent of others on which the AHRC has released appeals in recent times where groups of persons have been accused of forming illegal organisations: see the case of Dr. Wint Thu and eight others (AHRC-UAC-011-2010), the case of three people imprisoned for getting money from groups abroad to help families of detainees (AHRC-UAC-137-2009), the case of another five men charged without evidence for forming an illegal group (AHRC-UAC-125-2009), that of four men tried for having stickers of Aung San Suu Kyi (AHRC-UAC-107-2009) and the three human rights defenders also tortured over a bogus bomb plot (AHRC-UAU-018-2009).

These cases are not only tragic for everyone involved, but are ironic given that the military regime in Burma is currently promoting its plans for a general election that is expected later this year. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the country, Tomas Quintana, after his visit to the country this month remarked that if prisoners of conscience are not released then “the elections to be held will not be credible”. The contents of his news conference were not made public in Burma.

All urgent appeals on Burma can be accessed by going to the appeals homepage and typing “Burma” or “Myanmar” into the search box: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/. See also articles and special reports on the article 2 website: http://www.article2.org/search.phpagain search for Burma/Myanmar, and the 2009 AHRC annual report on Burma.

The AHRC Burmese-language blog, Pyithu Hittaing, is updated constantly for Burmese-language readers, and covers the contents of urgent appeal cases, related news, and special analysis pieces.

Please write to the persons listed below to call for the trial of Khine Kyaw Moe and his co-defendants to be stopped and for their release without delay. Please note that for the purposes of the letter Burma is referred to by its official name, Myanmar.

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar, torture, and the independence of judges and lawyers, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the regional human rights office for Southeast Asia calling for interventions into this case.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear ___________,

MYANMAR: Eleven persons held illegally, tortured and tried without evidence

Details of accused: 
1. Khine Kyaw Moe, 26, of 52nd Street, Botataung Township, Yangon
2. Htun Lin Kyaw, 26, residing with Khine Kyaw Moe
3. Kyaw Win, 27, residing with Khine Kyaw Moe
4. Ye Htet Soe, 21, of Yadana Road, Kyaikkasan Ward, Bahan Township, Yangon
5. Zaw Htun Naing, 26, of Pinhsan Ward, Sittwe Town, Rakhine State
6. Naing Soe (a.k.a. Me Lon), 21, of Dhanyawaddy Ward, Sittwe 
7. Naing Soe, 21, of Nyaungbinchaung Village, Buthitaung Town, Rakhine State
8. Aung Moe Zaw (a.k.a. Moe Thi), 34, of Ywahtaung Ward, Punnakyun Town, Rakhine State
9. Kyaw Zan Thein (a.k.a. Khine Kyaw Zan, Kyaw Thein), 28, of Alesu Ward, Punnakyun
10. Maung Maung (a.k.a. Aung San Thein, Napauk), 27, Thetketan Village, Taukkut Township, Rakhine State
11. Aung Naing, 26, of Maung Myat Htun Road, Bizan Ward, Sittwe

Special Branch police concerned: 
1. Police Captain Than Soe, Special Branch (prosecuting officer)
2. Inspector Kyaw Chit, Serial No. La/153343
3. Inspector Kyaw Yin, Serial No. 86696, Investigations
4. Sub-Inspector Win Kyaw, Serial No. La/153355, External Affairs Department
5. Sub-Inspector Than Htun, Serial No. La/139533, Sittwe unit
6. Sub-Inspector Win Myint, Serial No. La/126459, Myawaddy unit

Charges & trials: Yangon Western District Court, Judge U Myint San (Deputy District Judge) presiding
1. Organizations Law 1988, sections 6 & 7 (Accused 1-9)
2. Immigration (Emergency Provisions) Act 1947, section 13(1) (Accused 2-3 8-11)
3. Explosive Substances Act, section 5
4. Telegraph Law, section 6

I find it remarkable that even as the Government of Myanmar claims to be preparing for a general election some time before 2010 it is imprisoning more and more persons on spurious claims of alleged involvement in illegal organisations.

According to the information I have received, among those currently facing trial under such circumstances are Khine Kyaw Moe and ten others who have been accused of involvement in an outlawed ethnic organisation, the All Arakan Students Youth Congress (AASYC). Another seven persons were also targeted for arrest but have reportedly escaped custody.

It was mentioned in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper of 24 September 2009, in connection with the arrest of United States citizen Nyi Nyi Aung (a.k.a. Kyaw Zaw Lwin), that members of the AASYC, including Ye Htet Soe, were arrested in the first week of September over alleged possession of explosives.

However, Police Captain Than Soe did not open a case against the detainees until 19 October 2009, and they were not remanded in custody until December 10. Thus the detainees were held in illegal detention for over three months, during which time they were allegedly tortured to extract confessions to present in court.

I am informed that the police have no evidence with which to link the accused to the alleged crimes. Nor, for that matter, do the facts in the case brought against them match those in the case brought against Nyi Nyi Aung, despite the cases supposedly being related.

In light of the above, I urge that the Attorney General urgently review the case against these accused and close it without further delay. I call for their immediate release, as well as the release of Nyi Nyi Aung and other persons accused in cases of this type. In this respect I note the recent statements of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar after his visit to the country that if prisoners of conscience are not released before the general election planned for later in 2010 then any vote “will not be credible”.

I also ask that the Ministry for Home Affairs and Myanmar Police Force conduct inquiries in this case to investigate the allegations of torture by the abovementioned Special Branch personnel so that criminal charges can be brought against them. I note that Myanmar does not have a law to prohibit torture and has not joined the UN Convention against Torture and I urge that it does so. 

Finally, I take this opportunity to remind the Government of Myanmar of the need to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access to places of detention, in accordance with its globally recognized mandate, without any further delay.

Yours sincerely,


1. Maj-Gen. Maung Oo
Minister for Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663
Fax: +95 67 412 439

2. Lt-Gen. Thein Sein
Prime Minister
c/o Ministry of Defence
Tel: + 95 1 372 681
Fax: + 95 1 652 624

3. U Aung Toe
Chief Justice
Office of the Supreme Court
Office No. 24
Tel: + 95 67 404 080/ 071/ 078/ 067 or + 95 1 372 145
Fax: + 95 67 404 059

4. U Aye Maung
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Office No. 25
Tel: +95 67 404 088/ 090/ 092/ 094/ 097
Fax: +95 67 404 146/ 106

5. Brig-Gen. Khin Yi
Director General
Myanmar Police Force
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663
Fax: +951 549 663 / 549 208

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-016-2010
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Freedom of association, Judicial system, Rule of law, Torture,