BURMA: Three more persons charged without evidence over September protests


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-177-2008
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Freedom of expression, Judicial system, Military, Police violence, Rule of law, State of emergency & martial law,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regrets to inform you of another three cases against three persons who were illegally detained after the protests in Burma last September against the rapid increases in fuel and commodity costs there. The three have been charged with a number of offences for supposedly distributing anti-government literature and being involved in illegal associations. But, the police have not produced any evidence to the court and could not even say on what days the alleged crimes were committed. In fact the investigations have all been done through military intelligence, and they have sent police to the court to present the case on their behalf, which is also a violation of the law.


Kam Lat Hkoat, Kat Hkant Kwal and Tin Htoo Aung were all arrested at the end of October 2007 and accused of offences in connection to the mass nationwide protests of September against the military regime. However, they were not kept in police custody and brought to a court as required by law. They were kept in illegal detention, allegedly tortured, and illegally investigated by military officials before being handed over to the police in order to have the case processed and put through the courts.

Only on 20 January 2008, cases against the three men were lodged in court. They have been accused of distributing illegal information at the time of the protests, and of illegally exiting and re-entering the country, and of having contact with illegal groups.

But when the case was brought against the three men, it was revealed that the police officers presenting the case in court have no evidence at all against the accused. They read statements that were supposedly their confessions; however, this is inadmissible evidence. When one of the police officers, admitting that he knew that the evidence was inadmissible, was asked why he had presented it in court he said it was because he had been ordered to do this by his superiors.

The police also could not answer any questions about the evidence, or even say on what dates the supposed offences had been committed. Some questions they refused to answer on grounds of national security. Nor did they have any material evidence to show the court, such as the supposed illegal materials that the accused had distributed.


The AHRC has been documenting cases of illegal arrest, detention and prosecution since the nationwide protests in Burma last September and has in recent months also issued a number of other recent cases of young women imprisoned under similar circumstances and on similar charges, including the cases of Ko Htin Kyaw (AHRC-UAC-146-2008), U Ohn Than (AHRC-UAC-131-2008), Honey Oo and Aung Min Naing (AHRC-UAC-083-2008), Ko Thiha (AHRC-UAC-052-2008) and Khin Sanda Win (AHRC-UAC-022-2008).

For links and other material on the protests in Burma of August and September 2007 see: http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/burmaprotests/

See also the comprehensive report on Burma: “Burma, political psychosis and legal dementia” issued by the AHRC’s sister organisation and the 2007 AHRC Human Rights Report chapter on Burma. 

Please write to the persons listed below to call for the case against the three men to be dropped. Please note that for the purpose of the letter, the country should be referred to by its official title of Myanmar, rather than Burma.

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar and independence of judges and lawyers as well as the UN Special Representative on human rights defenders, the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention and the regional human rights office for Southeast Asia, calling for interventions into this case.

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Dear ___________,

MYANMAR: No evidence to support case against three men accused of illegal activities at time of protests

Details of accused: 
1. Kam Lat Hkoat a.k.a. Kyaw Soe, 34, a merchant, ID No. 5/KaLaHta(Naing)111244, residing in Yuzana Road, Ward 94, Dagon-seitkan Township, Yangon 
2. Kat Hkant Kwal a.k.a. Kwalpi, 28, ID No. 5/KaLaHta(Naing)128196, residing in Lanmadaw Road, Kale Town, Sagaing Division
3. Tin Htoo Aung, 27, ID No. 11/RaBhaNa(Naing)053471, student, residing in Oatgyinbudayone Road, Ward 15, Hlaing Township, Yangon
Primary officials involved: 
1. Captain Myo Min Latt, Military Affairs Security 
2. Police Captain Myo Thant, No. La/127091, Special Branch, Dagon-seitkan Police Station
3. Inspector Hla Htun, No. La/124578, Special Branch
4. Inspector Htun Thein, No. La/112687, Criminal Investigation Department
5. Police Lt-Colonel Maung Maung Oo, No. La/59041, Special Branch
6. Sub-Inspector Myo Maung, No. La/139200, Special Branch
7. Inspector Myint Aye, No. La/127086, Special Branch
8. Warrant Officer Aung Ko Ko, No. La/145985, Special Branch
9. Inspector Htun Soe Thein, No. La/139240, Special Branch
10. Inspector Win Myint, Special Branch
11. Inspector Thet Tin, No. La/123903, Special Branch
12. Inspector Khin Myint, No. La/126459, Special Branch
Charge and trial: Charged under sections 17/20 of the Printers and Publishers Act 1962, Felony Case No. 353/2008; section 13(1), Immigration Law (Emergency Provisions, Temporary) 1947, Felony Case No. 354/2008; section 17(1), Illegal Associations Act 1908, Felony Case No. 355/2008; all cases in South Dagon Township Court; arrested on 29 October 2007, charge lodged on 20 January 2008; Judge Daw Htay Htay (Special Powers), presiding

I am very disappointed to hear of yet another three cases that have been concocted against persons who were illegally arrested and detained after the demonstrations in Myanmar of September 2007, and am urging that the three accused be released.

According to the information that I have received, Kam Lat Hkoat, Kat Hkant Kwal and Tin Htoo Aung were all arrested on 29 October 2007 and accused of a variety of offences in relation to the events of September, including that they printed and distributed anti-government materials at that time, and that in 2006 they had travelled to Thailand illegally and there met with members of organisations banned in Myanmar.

However, like other cases from last September and October, the three men were not taken to a police station and then brought before a magistrate as required by law (Criminal Procedure Code, CrPC, section 61). Instead they were held incommunicado and the charges framed and presented against them in court only on 20 January 2008. Thus they were kept in illegal detention in the interrogation cells within the central Insein Prison for 82 days, during which time it is alleged that they were tortured. It is also revealed that the case was in the hands of the army intelligence unit Military Affairs Security throughout this time and it was only turned over to the police for them to put the case into the court.

Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of illegality and wrongdoing in this case. When the case was brought into the court, it was found that the police officers presenting it have no evidence at all against the accused. They could not name what dates the supposed offences were supposed to have been committed. Other questions they refused to answer on grounds of national security or because they were not authorised.

The police had no material evidence to show the court to prove any of the allegations. Instead they just read confessions supposedly obtained from the accused. It is a violation of the law for a confession obtained in this way to be given in the court (Evidence Act, sections 25-26). When the defence lawyer for the three accused asked the police officer reading the confessions if he knew this, he said yes, but that he was following orders.

These are just some of the most glaring violations of law in this case. In light of the patent violations of the law on evidence, the lack of evidence presented to the court, and the police officers’ incapacity to answer even the most basic questions about the nature of the alleged offences, I urge that the court close the case and release the accused immediately. In the event that the court itself fails to do so I urge the Supreme Court of Myanmar to give directions to this effect in accordance with its powers as established by the new Constitution of Myanmar 2008.

I likewise call for the Attorney General to review the case and instruct the concerned law office to withdraw the case from the court as per section 4(b) of the Attorney General Law 2001, and for the Minister of Home Affairs and Director General of Police also to look into the matter both with a view to seeing the case withdrawn and also in order to review the work of their subordinates.

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 and not least of all, access to those persons and forcibly disrobed monks and nuns who have been held in violation of criminal procedure and without charge or trial since the events of last September.

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 (ua@ahrchk.org)