Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Prison terms commuted for two political prisoners

By Than Htike Oo

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two political prisoners put in prison for having contact with a Thai based opposition organization had their sentences commuted by 16 years each by a divisional court.

The authorities accused Kaythi Aung and Wei Myo Htoo of attending a training conducted by 'Forum for Democracy in Burma' (FDB) in April last year and they were sentenced and are now serving their terms in Oboe prison, Mandalay. Now they have to serve the remaining 10 years each.

"The divisional court commuted their prison terms in keeping with the law. Moreover these two pleaded guilty at the trial court and it was difficult to acquit them. They had no access to legal counsel during the court proceedings and we could not get chance to re-examine the prosecution witnesses. So we are trying to get their current prison terms commuted to lenient ones", their legal counsel Myint Thwin told Mizzima.

These two were arrested from their homes in Mandalay in September 2008. First they were held in Oboe prison and then sentenced to 26 years each on 24 November last year.

They were handed out 16 years prison term each in two cases under Unlawful Associations Act and another 10 years each in two cases charged under the Immigration (Emergency Provisions) Act.

"According to the provisions in the Criminal Procedural Code (CrPC) and court rulings, their sentences could be commuted. For instance, in four cases of Kaythi Aung, all the alleged crimes were committed on the same date and same time. And the course of events was the same too. According to the law, in such a case, if the course of crime is the same, the prison terms must be served concurrently", he said.

The news of commuting sentences of some political prisoners coincided with the ongoing visit of UN rights envoy and human rights expert Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana to Burma.

The famous comedian and film director Zargana a.k.a. Thura was first sentenced to 59 years in prison for disaffection to State and Government allegedly committed through internet and was charged under Electronic Law. However, the Rangoon Division bench commuted his prison sentence by 24 years on 13 February.

The Thailand based 'Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners in Burma' (AAPPB) Joint GS Bo Kyi said that the ongoing visit of UN right expert's to Burma has nothing to do with commuting prison sentences of some political prisoners.

"The commuting of sentences is not because of Mr. Quintana's visit to Burma. Even arresting these people is going too far. And they are not only arresting these innocent people, they are even handing out harsh prison sentences to them. And now they are commuting some of these prison sentences. I don't think it is because of Mr. Quintana's visit to Burma," he said.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too