Burma’s Kangaroo Courts Deliver Harsh and Cruel Sentences to Democracy Activists

November 11, 2008

The special courts held inside the Insein Prison Compound are rushing to complete the court hearing against Burmese democracy activists and Buddhist Monks, who were arrested one year ago during and after the peaceful protests in August and September 2007, and delivering harsh sentences everyday. Family members are not allowed to attend the hearing and not informed by the authorities before and after the sentencing. Three lawyers, who defended these activists, were arrested and imprisoned earlier under the charge of contempt of court and therefore, no defense lawyers were present during the sentencing.

On November 11, 2008 alone, over 30 detained activists and Monks were sentenced. Details are as follows.

65 Years for 14 Members of the 88 Generation Students
14 members of the 88 Generation Students group were sentenced 65-year imprisonment each with hard labor by Rangoon Northern District Court and Rangoon Southern District Court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound, today. They are Min Zeya, Jimmy (aka) Kyaw Min Yu, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Panneik Tun, Nilar Thein (Female), Mie Mie (aka) Thin Thin Aye (Female), Kyaw Kyaw Htwe (aka) Marki, Zaw Zaw Min, Thet Zaw (aka) Zaukhto, Than Tin (aka) Kyee Than, Sandar Min (aka) Shwee (Female), Thet Thet Aung (Female), and Mar Mar Oo (Female). They were sentenced today only for five counts of indictment, 15-year each for four counts of indictment under the Section 33 (A) of the Electronic Transactions Law and 5-year imprisonment for one count under the Section 6 of the Law Relating to Forming of Organization.

They will receive more and more sentences as their trials continue under another 16 counts of indictment. They all are a part of the 35 members of the 88 Generation Students group, led by Min Ko Naing, who all were arrested since August 21, 2008. They all were charged with altogether 21 counts of indictment and are on trials since August 2008. Two more defendants were added into their cases, when Mar Mar Oo and Nilar Thein were arrested in August and September 2008.

Nine of them, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Mya Aye, Pyone Choe (aka) Htay Win Aung, Aung Thu, Hla Myo Naung, Aung Naing, and Nyan Lin were sentenced six-month imprisonment under the charge of contempt of court and transferred to Ma-ubin Prison in the delta region in the end of October. Their cases are now being heard by Ma-ubin District Court, without defense lawyers. They are expected to be sentenced soon.

Since Min Ko Naing and the eight were transferred to Ma-ubin, the authorities formed the rest of the group remained in Insein Prison into two groups, with 14 members each, for continued trials. Today, the first group of 14 members was convicted and sentenced for five counts of indictment. Another group of 14 members will be sentenced soon.

Su Su Nway and Bo Bo Win Hlaing Imprisoned
Labor activist Su Su Nway and her colleague Bo Bo Win Hlaing were sentenced by a special court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound today. Su Su Nway received 12 and a half year imprisonment under Section 130 (B), 152 and 505 (B) of the Penal Code and Bo Bo Win Hlaing received 8-year imprisonment under Section 124 (A) of the Penal Code. They both were arrested on November 13, 2007.

Five Buddhist Monks from Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery Imprisoned
A summary court held inside the Insein Prison Compound delivered six and a half year imprisonment each with hard labor to the five Buddhist Monks, arrested since September 2007. They are U Zar Nay Ya, U Agga Dhama, U Vila Thetka, U Nanda and U Eithariya, from Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery from South Okkalapa, and arrested after the security forces brutally raided the monastery. They all were forcibly disrobed since their arrest, detained in Insein Prison and sent before South Okkalapa Township Court for trail, under the charges of the Section 143, 145, 147 and 505 (B) of the Penal Code. However, their sentences were delivered by a court held inside the Insein Prison Compound.

Nine Activists from Bogalay Imprisoned
Nine young activists from Bogalay Township, arrested since September 2007 and detained in Insein Prison, received harsh sentences today from a special court, held inside Insein Prison Compound.

Pyae Phyo Hlaing was sentenced 24-year imprisonment under the charges of Section 13 (1) of the Immigration Act, Section 17 (1) of the Unlawful Association Act, Section 17/20 of the Printers and Publishers Registration Act and Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code.

Nay Lin Aung (aka) Lin Lin was sentenced 22-year imprisonment under the charges of the same charges.

Aung Myo Paing (aka) Ahyoe, Thiha Aung (aka) Aung Aung, Phyo Maung Maung Soe (aka) Phyo Gyi, Myat Lin Htut (aka) Pyaung Gyi, Pyae Phyo Aung (aka) Hnan Mue, were sentenced 10-year imprisonment each with the same charges except Section 17/20.
Thein Zaw and Thiha Thet Zin were sentenced 8-year imprisonment each with the same charges except Sections 17/20 and 505 (B). Thiha Thet Zin is a sole survivor in his family as his parents, his wife and children were killed by the Cyclone Nargis while he was in prison.

Musician Win Maw and Group Sentenced
Mingalar Taungnyunt Township Court in Rangoon delivered sentences to three activists, including Burma’s famous musician and former political prisoner Win Maw today. Win Maw received seven-year imprisonment for his leading role in video recording the bloody events of the Saffron Revolution and distribution of DVDs, contained the brutal crackdown of the junta’s security forces against peaceful protesting monks. His colleague Than Naing, an active campaigner to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS, received six and a half year imprisonment and Thein Aye, former political prisoner, received two-year imprisonment.

Cyclone Survivor Imprisoned

Dala Township Court delivered a sentence to Ni Ni Mar (Female), a cyclone survivor from Dala Township, today. Ni Ni Mar, a NLD organizer from Dala Township, was arrested in October when she made a complaint that the relief items she received from the authorities were different with the items that the authorities officially announced. The authorities received relief supplies from an international NGO, called AMI, for cyclone survivors. However, they kept the original relief supplies and sold them out in the black market. They replaced with low-quality items and issued them to the cyclone survivors. When Ni Ni Mar complained about the difference, she was arrested and charged with Section 353 of the Penal Code, an offence of disturbing an official duty. Today, Dala Township Court sentenced her two-year imprisonment.

Nine Muslim Leaders Imprisoned

Maung Taw Township in Rakhine State delivered harsh sentences to nine Muslim leaders today. They were arrested by the authorities in March 2008, while they were holding a meeting at the residence of Than Tun, who is a lawyer. Among the 12 arrested, the authorities released three in exchange to use them as prosecution witnesses. They were accused by the authorities that they planned to form an illegal organization with intention to instigate unrest in the country.

Than Tun was sentenced to 13 and a half year imprisonment. Kyaw Win, who was the founder of the NLD branch in Maung Taw Township, and other 7 co-defendants, received ten-year imprisonment each.

Blooger Nay Phone Latt Received Harsh Sentence
Nay Phone Latt, a NLD member, Internet Café owner and blooger, was sentenced to 20 years and six month imprisonment by Judge Daw Soe Nyan of the Rangoon Western District Court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound on Nov 10, 2008. He was sentenced 2 years under the Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code, three years and six month under the Section 32 and 26 of the Television and Video Law and 15 years under the Section 33 and 38 of the Electronic Communications Law.

His co-defendant Thin July Kyaw received two and a half year imprisonment from the same judge. They were arrested since January 2008 and detained in Insein Prison.

Poet Saw Wai Sentenced
A famous poet Saw Wai was sentenced to two-year imprisonment by a special court held inside the Insein Prison Compound on Nov 10, 2008. He was arrested since January 2008 for his poem, which was insulting the junta’s paramount leader Than Shwe as power-thirsty and foolish general. He was charged with the Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code and detained in Insein Prison.

One Monk and One Activist Imprisoned
On Nov 7, 2008, Judge U Sein Hla Oo of the Rangoon Eastern District Court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound, delivered 19-year imprisonment each to a monk and an activist. U Thaddama from Garna Puli Monastery in Twantay Township was arrested in September 2007 for his participation in the Saffron Revolution. He was released in a few days, but rearrested again in January 2008 and detained in Insein Prison. Tun Tun Naing, who lives in Insein Township, was also arrested in October 2007 and detained in Insein Prison. They both were changed with Section 33 and 38 of the Electronic Transactions Law, Sections 295 (A) and 505 (B) of the Penal Code.

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