BURMA: Five men are charged without evidence for allegedly forming an illegal group


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-125-2009
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Freedom of association, Judicial system, Military, State of emergency & martial law,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has obtained the details of yet another group of people in Burma who have been charged without evidence for alleged anti-government activities. Five young men have been accused of setting up an illegal group and trying to contact other groups based in Thailand. There is no actual evidence to support the charges, and other grave irregularities challenge the legitimacy of their arrest and detention. 


Nyi Nyi Aung and four friends, all in their 20s, were arrested in January 2009 and held illegally for three months until a case was opened against them in court during April; they were then accused of having attempted to set up an illegal anti-government organisation. Nyi Nyi Aung has also been charged with a currency offence, because when he was arrested near Thailand he had Thai Baht in his possession, although this is neither surprising nor illegal for a person in a border town. 

The police have no legitimate evidence to support the charges. Instead they have presented computer equipment and books on computing taken from the room of one accused, 22-year-old Ne Moe Aung. He is a computing student and the contents of his room taken by the police could be found in the room of any one of his classmates. Some poems taken from his room also reveal nothing. A map of refugee camps in Thailand was taken from another of the accused, but this map is actually from a government-published schoolbook. Again, if it is an offence to have it in one’s possession, then every school-going child or her parents should also be charged. 

Finally, the police case is riddled with inconsistencies. For instance, the searches of the accused were all officially conducted in January, when they were first detained, but the charge sheet falsely records the date of arrest as April 10. 

The case against the five young men is ongoing. So far, four of the accused have been examined in court. One, Aung Hlaing Min, has been sick and unable to appear. Further details are provided in the sample letter below, as usual. 


The AHRC has been documenting numerous cases speaking to what it has described as Burma’s ‘injustice system’ and provided a range of links on these in a recent urgent appeal on Aung Aung Oo and his fellow defendants: AHRC-UAC-107-2009. See also the recent appeals on the case of detained monk U Sandadhika (AHRC-UAC-110-2009) and Ma Mar Mar Aye (AHRC-UAU-024-2009). Two special reports have also been issued in the article 2 periodical, Saffron Revolution imprisoned, law denied (vol. 7, no. 3, September 2008) and Burma, political psychosis and legal dementia (vol. 6, no. 5-6, December 2007). There are also a number of related sites, including the AHRC Burmese-language blog, Pyithu Hittaing, and the 2008 AHRC Human Rights Report chapter on Burma


Please write to the persons listed below to call for the case against the accused to be dropped. Please note that for the purposes of the letter Burma is referred to by its official name, Myanmar. 

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar 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: Five men are charged without evidence for allegedly forming an illegal organisation 

Details of accused: 
1. Nyi Nyi Aung, 25; National ID No. 5/PaLaNa(Naing)056028; resident of Lepugan Village, Pale Township, Sagaing Division, Myanmar. 
2. Aung Hlaing Min, 26; National ID No. 5/PaLaNa(Naing)104346. 
3. Ne Moe Aung, 22; National ID No. 5/PaLaNa(Naing)050980. 
4. Thant Zin Htun, 21; National ID No. 5/PaLaNa(Naing)064951. 
5. Ne Lin Aung, 22; National ID No. 5/PaLaNa(Naing)068554; resident of Thammadaw Village, Hsalingyi Township, Sagaing Division. 

Police officers involved: 
1. Police Captain Myo Thant, Serial No. La/127901; Special Branch (SB) (prosecuting officer) 
2. Deputy Inspector Win Aung, Serial No. La/128489; SB, Hlaing Township (junior investigating officer). 
3. Inspector Myint Aung, Serial No. La/112649; Myawaddy Special Squad. 
4. Deputy Inspector Khin Maung Win, Serial No. La/139226; SB, Yangon Division. 
5. Inspector Htun Soe Thein, Serial No. La/139240; SB (senior investigating officer). 
6. Deputy Inspector Maung Maung Myint, Serial No. La/112711; SB. 

Charge & trial: Section 6, Organisation Law 1988, Hlaing Township Court, Yangon, Felony No. 356/2009; Judge Win Swe presiding; hearings began in May 2009. Defendant No. 1 also charged under section 24(1) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947 (Hlaing Township Court, Felony No. 357/2009) 

I am very sorry to hear that yet another evidence-less case has been lodged against some people in Myanmar because of their alleged anti-government activities, and I urge that the case be dropped. 

According to the information I have been given, Nyi Nyi Aung and the other four accused along with other persons in January 2008 were charged with establishing an illegal organisation called Burma National Integrity to Democracy, with Nyi Nyi Aung and Aung Hlaing Min accused of arranging to travel to Thailand to meet with anti-government groups there. However there are a number of glaring violations of law in this case, including the following: 

1. Illegal detention & false documentation: The accused were arrested on different days in January 2009 but the police did not bring the matter to court until 24 April during which time the defendants were kept in illegal custody at the Aungthapyay Interrogation Camp, where they are also suspected of having been tortured. The First Information Report did not give details of the exact day on which the inquiry commenced, and also falsely recorded the date of arrest of all accused as 10 April. However this is clearly contradicted by the search warrants, which for Nyi Nyi Aung and Aung Hlaing Min are dated 26 January, for Ne Moe Aung, 28 January, and for Ne Lin Aung, 29 January. The places of search and responsible police stations are also inconsistent. 

2. Illegal search & seizure: The police searched Ne Moe Aung’s room without a warrant, a fact that Deputy Inspector Win Aung admitted under cross-examination in court and that was confirmed by another prosecution witness. They confiscated and presented to court a variety of items, including a computer-programming book, three poems, and some computer equipment, but none of these items had anything to do with the alleged offence or had contents relevant to the charge; on the contrary, the computer materials were all related to his computing studies and can be found in the room of any student taking the same subject. The poems have only abstract romantic contents. 

3. Absurd and non-existent ‘evidence’: Aside from the above items that were presented to the court as ‘evidence’, other items included a map of refugee camps in Thailand obtained from one of the defendants. In fact this map is from a middle school social studies government-issued textbook. On the other hand, the police had no firm evidence to link any of the accused to external anti-government groups, as they claimed, or even to prove the existence of such a group. 

Furthermore, when Nyi Nyi Aung was arrested in Myawaddy town, adjacent to Thailand, he was found to have 1590 Thai Baht and was also charged with carrying foreign currency in Myanmar illegally. Yet Thai Baht is legal currency in the border town, where special regulations allow for daytime visitors from Thailand and it is openly exchanged and used. The documentation for this alleged offence is also inconsistent with that of the other offence: the date of the supposed police search of the defendant being recorded as being two days after the search for the first offence, and in a different place. 

Accordingly, I urge that the Township Law Office concerned review the case at once and drop the charges against the accused, or that the responsible authorities otherwise take the necessary steps to see that the matter is laid to rest and the accused are allowed to go free. 

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@ahrchk.org)