BURMA: Five men and two women given long jail sentences for alleged bomb plots


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-028-2011
ISSUES: Judicial system, Right to fair trial, Rule of law,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) brings you details of the latest case in which a group of democracy and human rights activists has been accused of involvement in a series of bombings. The seven were already sentenced to over 30 years in prison in 2008 and have again been sentenced to another 20 years, while a further case is due to be decided. 


In 2008 police arrested Aye Min Naing and San San Maw at their boarding house in Pyi, north of Rangoon, along with guests Htet Ko Lwin, Zaw Lwin and Kyaw Zin Oo. They claim to have recovered gunpowder from the boarding house and they accused the group of carrying out a bombing in the town. They also arrested two other persons and accused them of involvement, while three more people named as accused evaded arrest or were not actually in the country.

A district court sentenced the seven for periods of 31 to 37 years of imprisonment in the same year as the arrests. After that, the police lodged three more cases against them in Rangoon, accusing them of also being behind small blasts that occurred there in 2004 and 2005. The only purported evidence that the police brought against them were photocopies of the seizure records of gunpowder from Pyi. On the basis of this, the court has sentenced each of the accused to another 20 years in jail, while a third sentence is due to be delivered.

According to persons familiar with the cases, the police laid the charges against the group in Rangoon because they could not identify the actual perpetrators of the bombings there and needed someone on whom to pin the blame. They have no material or witness evidence to link any of the accused to the alleged crimes.

Furthermore, under the law in Burma even if a link could be made, the accused cannot legally be punished further than the sentences already given in 2008, because the incidents would constitute parts of a single offence, not separately punishable offences. Therefore, in order to sentence the accused to additional periods in jail the court in Rangoon has had to ignore this aspect of the law.

Further details of the case are in the sample letter below.


The AHRC has been following a number of other cases where persons have been wrongfully and without evidence accused of involvement in bombings in Burma. These include the cases of:

U Zeya & Sithu Zeya: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-013-2011/

Phyo Wai Aung: http://www.humanrights.asia/campaigns/phyo-wai-aung/.

U Myint Aye: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAU-018-2009/

The Asian Legal Resource Centre also recently released a special report on rule of law and human rights issues in Burma for the Universal Periodic Review process for the country at the United Nations in Geneva. The report and annexe are available on the ALRC website at: http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/upr/ (scroll to bottom of page).

The AHRC Burmese-language blog 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 release of these seven accused. Please note that for the purposes of the letter Burma is referred to by its official name, Myanmar, and Rangoon as Yangon.

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar and on the independence of judges and lawyers, and to 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: Two women and five men given long jail terms without evidence 

Details of seven imprisoned accused:

1. Aye Min Naing (a.k.a. Aung Htoo), 39, resident of Shwetagyaung Road, Pyithayar Ward, Pyi

2. Kyaw Zwa Lin (a.k.a. Khuzaryei), 23, resident of Kaleti village, Panglong Township, Shan State

3. Zaw Lwin, 31, resident of Chauklonpyu village, Paungti

4. Kyaw Zin Oo (a.k.a. Phoe Kyaw), 27, resident of Kyundaw, Pyi

5. Htet Ko Lwin (a.k.a. Phongyi), 26, resident of Duringaboe village, Aunglan Township, Magway Division

6. Ma San San Maw (a.k.a. Mi Chay) (f), 36, resident of Shwetagyaung Road, Pyithayar Ward, Pyi

7. Daw Khin Yi (a.k.a. Daw San) (f), 65, resident of Aung San Ward 1, Pyi

Cases lodged against detainees
: All three cases in the Yangon Western District Court against all seven accused:

1. Case No. 51/09 (Deputy District Judge Daw Nu Nu Khin presiding), charged by Inspector Ye Htun under sections 3/6 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 over bombing outside the Panorama Hotel on Pansodan Road, Kyauktada Township, Yangon on 19 March 2005, sentenced on 15 September 2010 to 10 years imprisonment

2. Case No. 58/09 (Deputy District Judge U Myint Than presiding), charged by Inspector Aye Ko under sections 3/6 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 over bombing at the Zawgyi House Restaurant, General Aung San Road, Pabedan Township, Yangon on 21 December 2004, sentenced on 15 September 2010 to 10 years imprisonment

3. Case No. 137/09 (Judge U Aung Thein presiding), charged by Sub Inspector Maung Maung Aung (Serial No. La/167329, South Okkalapa Township Police Station) under sections 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 over bombing at the Parami bus stand, Shwemanthu long distance bus station on 17 March 2005, verdict pending

I am extremely disappointed to learn that a group of seven persons has been given additional lengthy jail terms for alleged involvement in bombings for which there was no evidence of their involvement, and I urge their prompt release from imprisonment.

According to the information that I have received, in 2008 police arrested Aye Min Naing and San San Maw at their Seinyaungsoe boarding house in Pyi along with three guests, Htet Ko Lwin, Zaw Lwin and Kyaw Zin Oo, and accused them of being responsible for a series of small bombings in the country. They also arrested Kyaw Zwa Lin and Daw Khin Yi and accused them of involvement in the plot. Three other persons accused of involvement evaded arrest or were not in the country.

In 2008 the Pyi District Court sentenced the seven to terms of 31 to 37 years of imprisonment for a bombing in Pyi on 25 March 2008, under sections 3/4/6 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908; section 17(1)(2) of the Unlawful Associations Act, 1908; and, section 13(1) of the Immigration (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1947.

After that, the police lodged the three cases in the Yangon Western District Court, in two of which each of the accused was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The verdict in the third case is pending.

The three new cases were based on the police argument that gunpowder allegedly recovered from the accused in Pyi could be linked to the cases in Yangon. In fact, the only “evidence” to link the accused to the cases was photocopies of the search and seizure records in Pyi.

According to persons familiar with the cases the police have no evidence at all to link the accused to the incidents in Yangon, and that they laid the charges because they have been unable to identify the actual perpetrators of the bombings in Yangon and need someone on whom to pin the blame to close these cases.

Furthermore, under section 71 of the Penal Code, additional punishment for these offences is not permissible, because “where anything which is an offence is made up of parts, any of which parts is itself an offence, the offender shall not be punished with the punishment of more than one of such offences”.

Notwithstanding, the district court in Yangon has already sentenced the accused to a further 20 years in prison and a final case is pending in which they are each expected to receive an additional lengthy sentence.

In light of the lack of evidence and the procedural problems in these cases I urge that they be reviewed and the accused be released from imprisonment. I also take this opportunity to urge that while they remain in custody they be entitled to visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross in accordance with the terms of its internationally accepted mandate.

I also wish to add that it is especially alarming that bombing cases are apparently being used with increasing frequency as a pretext to target activists, human rights defenders and others whom the state authorities perceive to be a threat. Other recent cases brought to my attention of this sort include the case of father and son U Zeya and Sithu Zeya, and the case of U Myint Aye, founder of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters group. I strongly urge that terrorist acts not be used as a vehicle by which to bring cases against persons whose alleged “crime” is in fact a shared struggle for democracy and the realization of human rights in Myanmar, and I call for all persons imprisoned in these cases to be released promptly.

Yours sincerely,




1. Maj-Gen. (Retd.) 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. (Retd.) 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 Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-028-2011
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Issues : Judicial system, Right to fair trial, Rule of law,