Activists say Burma junta behaving lawlessly

Nov 12, 2008 (DVB)-Recent sentencing of activists to 65 years in prison highlights lawlessness and dearth of justice in Burma, insisted their relatives and pro-democracy activists.

14 members of 88 generation students including Ko Min Zayya, Ma Mie Mie, Ma Nilar Thein, Ko Jimmy, Ko Than Tin, Ko Pandate Htun, Ma Cho Cho Myint were sentenced by a court in Rangoon Insein jail yesterday.

Cho Cho Myint, younger sister of Ko Than Tin said she was left speechless when she heard the sentence.

"Words can’t express the way I am feeling right now. My brother has been suffering from stomach problems and he needs serious care," said Cho Cho Myint.

"Throwing him into jail for 65 years is a very unfair thing to do â€" I have never heard of such a thing in my life," she said.

"My brother and his colleagues are innocent â€" they were only making the voice of our people heard," she added.

"This is the kind of justice system where [the authorities] do whatever they like â€" I’m shocked," said Pandate Htun’s mother Nyunt Nyunt Oo.

"This jailing of (rights) lawyers and sentencing of activists behind closed doors show that there is no law in our country," a National League for Democracy youth member who doesn’t want to be named said.

U Nyan Win, the spokesman of the NLD and a trained lawyer said that the actions of the courts indicate the weakness of judicial system in Burma.

"The right to free and fair trial is an important factor for a legal system and its policies. These court cases have shown how much the legal system in our country has been weakened," U Nyan Win said.

"Moreover, it’s not legally appropriate to give maximum sentence to people like Nay Phone Latt who was only on trial for the first time," he said.

"This shows the government is not taking steps towards the transition but only interested in taking revenge on activists."

The ruling junta State Peace and Development Council’s third most powerful leader General Shwe Mann said in 2004 after the generals fired their powerful intelligence chief and prime minister General Khin Nyunt on corruption charges, that ‘nobody is above the law’.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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