Activists appear in court on bombing charges

Oct 21, 2008 (DVB), Three activists accused of involvement in a bomb attack in Shwe Pyithar township in July appeared before northern Rangoon provincial court last week, according to their lawyer.

Myint Aye of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network and National League for Democracy members Yan Shwe and Zaw Zaw Aung are being prosecuted by the Shwe Pyithar township police chief on explosives charges.

They are accused of involvement in an attack on the Union Solidarity and Development Association office in Shwe Pyithar township on 1 July, which caused some damage to the building.

Lawyer Pho Phyu, who represents the two NLD members, said there was no evidence against his clients.

"None of the exhibits brought onto the court were near any explosives and also there was no hard evidence that the exhibit materials from the bomb blast had anything to do with my clients," Pho Phyu said.

"The families of my clients, who came to Rangoon to deal with the cases, were pressured by the authorities – they were visited by the [Shwe Pyithar] police chief and other officials in uniforms, on separate occasions," he said.

"They criticised the families for hiring young lawyers and threatened that the two would not be allowed food and family visits in detention," he went on.

"Making threats concerning which lawyer they have chosen is a violation of the right to legal representation."

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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