UPDATE (Burma): Details of more fabricated cases brought against five persons


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-021-2010
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Judicial system, Military, Police violence,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) previously issued an appeal on the case of Dr. Wint Thu and eight others who in December 2009 were given long jail terms for alleged offences against the state. They were reportedly tortured into giving confessions that the police used in court. In this update we bring you details of cases brought against five more persons in connection with the same alleged crimes, each of whom has received between five and 55 years in prison. 


As we wrote in the appeal in February 2010, Dr. Wint Thu and eight others were arrested in September 2009 over alleged plans to commemorate the 2007 monk-led uprising and to engage in other activities deemed “anti-government”, such as distributing CDs showing footage of the protests. It was alleged that they had had contact with–and received money from–unlawful groups abroad. They were illegally detained until perfunctory and unlawful trials were held against them in December, when confessions extracted from them during torture were used against them in court (AHRC-UAC-011-2010). 

The AHRC has since obtained further details of cases being brought against another five persons–Kyaw Htun Lin, Zaw Zaw, Ye Khaung, Myo Min Than and his sister Choe Choe Than–by police over the same alleged activities. As in the cases referred to in the previous appeal, these trials too were held contrary to the law: inside a special room inside a prison in Mandalay Division. Again there was no public access and the accused were only able to have a defence lawyer appear for them when they gave their own testimonies, not when the prosecutor presented his arguments. 

As before, the accused were interrogated and held at special police facilities, and some allegedly tortured. A judge who is usually involved in convicting persons accused in political cases, took the supposed confessions that were used to secure convictions. There was no material evidence with which to conduct successful prosecutions, and only police officers and the abovementioned judge appeared as prosecution witnesses. 

Nonetheless all accused were convicted in all cases, and sentenced from five to 55 years in prison. As before, the sentences are very lengthy because although the allegations relate to the same incidents and should have been combined as single offences and run as just two or three trials, the police separated them into multiple cases and the judge gave maximum terms. And again, after the sentences, as an additional form of punishment that is common for prisoners of conscience, all accused were transferred to remote prisons, separate from one another and far from their families and friends (on whom prisoners depend to bring food and medicine and give other types of support that are needed to survive in Burma’s jails). 

Details of charges and officials involved are provided in the sample letter below, as usual; the letter contains only the new cases and charges in this update. To see the earlier charges and details, please go to the original appeal


Aside from the case of Dr. Wint Thu and others, the AHRC has released a variety of appeals on similar cases in recent times, including: AHRC-UAC-062-2010AHRC-UAU-019-2010AHRC-UAC-038-2010; and, AHRC-UAC-016-2010. 

All urgent appeals on Burma can be accessed by going to the appeals homepage and typing “Burma” or “Myanmar” into the search box at http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/. For further discussion see articles and special reports on the article 2 website: http://www.article2.org/search.php again search for Burma/Myanmar; and, see the 2009 AHRC annual report on Burma (PDF). 

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 immediate release of these five persons. 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: Five more persons imprisoned on fabricated cases 

Details of accused, cases, sentences & prisons where reported held: 
1. Kyaw Htun Lin (a.k.a. Ko Latt); resident of Kyaukpadaung Township, Mandalay Division; Case Nos. 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209 & 214/09; 52 years, Lashio Prison, Shan State 
2. Zaw Zaw (a.k.a. Saya Zaw); Case No. 214/09; 5 years, Banmaw Prison, Kachin State 
3. Ye Khaung (a.k.a. Khaung Khaung); resident of Kyaukpadaung Township, Mandalay; Case Nos. 201, 202, 204, 205 & 214/09; 19 years 
4. Myo Min Than (a.k.a. Myo Myo); computing student, resident of Nyaung-U Township, Mandalay Division; Case Nos. 201, 202, 203, 209 & 214/09; 55 years, Putao Prison, Kachin State 
5. Choe Choe Than (a.k.a. Phyu Phyu Win), sister of Myo Min Than, residing as above; Case Nos. 201 & 202/09; 8 years, Myitchina Prison, Kachin State 

Personnel involved: 
1. Police Captain Maung Maung Lwin, Special Branch (prosecuting officer in all cases) 
2. Police Captain Khin Soe, Special Branch (Case Nos. 202, 203, 205, 207, 209 & 214/09) 
3. Police Captain Zaw Min, Special Branch (Case Nos. 201, 203, 205, 207, 209 & 214/09) 
4. Inspector Maung Maung Htay, investigating officer (Case Nos. 203 & 214/09) 
5. Sub-inspector Maung Maung Thant (Case Nos. 201, 205, 206, 207 & 209/09) 
6. Sub-inspector Myo Min (Case No. 203/09) 
7. Sub-inspector Win Zaw (Case No. 204, 206, 207 & 214/09) 
8. Sub-inspector Hsan Lin (Case No. 204, 206, 207 & 214/09) 
9. Sub-inspector Thet Wei 
10. Sub-inspector Kyaw Htoo Naing 
11. Township Judge Daw Baby (received confessions of accused) 

Charges & trials: Mandalay District Court, Deputy District Judge Ohn Myint presiding, trial conducted inside Ohboe Prison, Mandalay charged and sentenced on 23 December 2009 under the Unlawful Associations Act 1908, section 17(1) (Criminal Case Nos. 202, 203, 205, 207 & 214/09); and, Immigration (Emergency Provisions) Act 1947, section 13(1) (Criminal Case Nos. 201, 204, 206 & 209/09) 

Appeals: Mandalay Divisional Court, Judge Sein Than (Assistant Divisional Judge 2) presiding; requests for leave to appeal rejected in all abovementioned cases on 16 February 2010 

I am saddened to hear of another five persons, four men and a woman, who at the end of 2009, were sentenced to extremely long jail terms for alleged criminal offences in what I am reliably informed were fabricated trials. 

According to the information that I have received, after the persons were arrested in September 2009 from various townships in Mandalay, they were all transferred to the Special Branch facility at the foot of Mandalay Hill where they were tortured and their confessions were used illegally to open cases in court. Special Branch officers Sub-inspectors Thet Wei and Kyaw Htoo Naing alleged injected Zaw Zaw with an unknown substance during interrogation. 

The police accused the five of variously travelling illegally to Thailand during 2009, of having attended a training program on child rights that a political group in exile organized there, and of having received money for activities in Myanmar. However, the trials were wrongly conducted, for the following reasons: 

1. The cases were opened against the accused in Myinchan and Kyaukpadaung Townships and the trials should have been held in those localities under the Criminal Procedure Code but were transferred to the prison instead. 

2. The trials were held contrary to the Judiciary Law 2000, which states that hearings should be conducted in open, but these were conducted inside a special room of the Ohboe Prison. 

3. The accused did not have opportunities to hire lawyers, except when they were giving their own testimonies; therefore, the prosecution witnesses were not cross-examined. 

4. Alleged offences were separated and tried in as many possible offences as possible and thereby grossly multiply the number of years’ imprisonment, rather than compounded in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code (section 234[1]) and tried as single offences. 

Furthermore, I am informed that the prosecution cases lacked firm evidence needed to obtain a conviction. The only witnesses for the prosecution called to trial were police officers, plus the same judge who purportedly took all of the confessions, and who has also handled other politically-oriented cases of this sort. No material evidence was presented with which to secure convictions. 

The accused were only able to have a defence lawyer appear for them when they gave their own testimonies, not when the prosecutor presented his arguments. This prevented the lawyer from cross-examining the police and other witnesses for the prosecution and showing up the multiple illegalities and errors in the case against his clients. 

According to reports, as an additional form of punishment all accused have been transferred to remote prisons, separate from one another and far from their families and friends. This will affect not only their mental health but physical health as well, because prisoners in Myanmar rely on people from outside bringing food and medicine in order to survive the appalling conditions inside the country’s jails. 

In light of the above, I urge that these five persons be released without delay. I regret to note that their appeals to the divisional court were all refused, and hope that their cases will be disposed of properly without needless delay. 

I also ask that the Ministry for Home Affairs and Myanmar Police Force conduct inquiries in this case to investigate the allegation of torture of Zaw Zaw by the abovementioned personnel so that criminal charges can be brought against them. In this respect, 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. 

I take this opportunity to add that I find it remarkable that even as the Government of Myanmar claims to be preparing for a general election to establish a new parliament, state personnel are continuing to hunt for alleged antigovernment activists and put them up on fabricated trials of this sort. I urge that the needless persecution of persons such as these five cease, and that the government respect the minimum civil and political rights required for the holding of credible elections. 

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. (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) 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-021-2010
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Issues : Administration of justice, Judicial system, Military, Police violence,