UPDATE (Burma): Further information on the imprisonment of Mar Mar Aye


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-024-2009
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Judicial system, Military, Rule of law, State of emergency & martial law,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has obtained further and more detailed information on the case of Ma Mar Mar Aye, on whose imprisonment we recently issued an appeal. According to this information, the primary reason for her imprisonment was not the T-shirts that the police removed from her house, as previously reported, but that she had spoken to a number of monks in her hometown to ask about politically-related matters.


As reported previously (AHRC-UAC-116-2009), on 15 August 2009 two police officers took 46-year-old Ma Mar Mar Aye from her house and on August 17 they lodged a charge against Mar Mar Aye for allegedly causing fear and alarm in the public. They also confiscated items from her house, including T-shirts to vote No in the 2008 referendum on a new constitution, and some with Aung San Suu Kyi’s picture.

According to the additional information that the AHRC has now obtained regarding this case, the police accused Mar Mar Aye of agitating local monks to do something about the renewed detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. However, when the case came to court none of the monks mentioned as being witnesses were called and only some government officials appeared. As noted previously, Mar Mar Aye was not represented by a lawyer, was unable to call any witnesses in her defence, and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment after a perfunctory hearing.

Further details of the case are provided in an updated sample letter below; for additional information on related cases, please see the previous appeal (AHRC-UAC-116-2009).


Please again write to the persons listed below to call for the release of Mar Mar Aye. Please note that for the purpose of the letter, the country should be referred to by its official title of Myanmar, rather than Burma, and Bago rather than Pegu.

Please be informed that 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: Woman imprisoned after patently unfair trial

Details of accused: Ma Mar Mar Aye, 46, National ID No. 7/KaPaTa(Naing)004130, resident of Hsettainggone Ward, Kyopinkauk Township, Bago Division, Myanmar
Date of arrest: 15 August 2009
Officials involved: 
1. Inspector Myint Kyaw (prosecuting officer)
2. Deputy Inspector Tin Ohn (prosecution witness)
3. Deputy Inspector Soe Kyaw (arresting officer)
4. Female Constable Ni Ni Mar (arresting officer)
5. Police Captain U Htun Kyi 
6. Police Sergeant Thein Lwin (station clerk)
(All police from Kyopinkauk Township Police Station)
7. U Chit Lwin, Chairman, Seichi-taung Ward Peace & Development Council, Kyopinkauk Township (prosecution witness)
8. U Win Thein, officer, Bago Division (West) Department of Religious Affairs (prosecution witness)
Charge & trial: Penal Code section 505(b); Kyopinkauk Township Court, Judge Mya Thein (Special Powers) presiding, charges lodged on 17 August 2009, Felony No. 1188/2009, heard on August 26, defendant sentenced to two years’ rigorous imprisonment on August 28

I have learned of additional facts concerning the imprisonment of Ma Mar Mar Aye, who was taken into custody on 15 August 2009, and on August 16 police searched her home and removed a number of T-shirts with slogans to vote No for the 2008 constitution, and with images of democracy-party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to the police, on 11 and 12 August 2009 Mar Mar Aye went to see monks at temples in her town to ask if they had received DVDs and other materials documenting the 2007 monk-led protests, and whether or not they would do anything about the renewed detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. Thereafter, local authorities obtained assurances from the monks that they would not be doing anything other than religious practice, and arrested and charged Mar Mar Aye.

During the perfunctory trial, a number of police and government officers appeared as witnesses for the prosecution but none of the monks who were the eyewitnesses to the supposed offensive behaviour of the accused were called. The defendant did not have a lawyer and was also not able to call any witnesses, in violation of her right to a defence under section 2(f) of the Judiciary Law 2000.

I am greatly concerned that this is another case in Myanmar where a person who has committed no offence but against whom the authorities are keen to produce some sort of charge has found herself imprisoned in a patently illegal process of arrest and trial. Accordingly, I urge that the Attorney General at once order a review of this case 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 with a view both to seeing that the unfairly and illegally imprisoned accused is released and also that disciplinary action is taken against the officers concerned with the handling of the case in a manner contrary to law.

I note that Mar Mar Aye is reported to suffer from heart disease and arthritis and that she has already lost weight during the short time that she has been detained. I urge the prisons authorities concerned to ensure that all necessary steps be taken to ensure that her condition does not deteriorate during her incarceration. In this regard, I also 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)