Lawyers seek end to persecution

A group of lawyers who had their licenses revoked under the previous military government for being politically active are preparing to hold a press conference tomorrow to explain a legal challenge they are planning to regain the licenses.

Over 20 lawyers since the last military government came to power in 1988, have had their licenses revoked by the government.

Amongst them are the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) deputy-chairman Tin Oo, Aung Thein and Khin Maung Shein of the group’s Legal Assistance Wing and other lawyers from different regions including Mandalay, Sagaing, Pegu and Irrawaddy Divisions,

Aung Thein, an NLD lawyer, (who along with Khin Maung Shein defended Min Ko Naing, Ashin Gambira and other high profile activists, were jailed for 4 months in 2008 and had their licenses revoked for contempt of court) said their Lawyers’ Network are also collecting names of other lawyers who have had their licenses revoked.

“These lawyers were given prison sentences on political grounds have also lost their licenses – so it’s like we got two separate punishments in just one case. We are preparing to write an official [complaint] letter about this,” said Aung Thein.

The press conference tomorrow coincides with UN Human Rights Rapporteur’s visit in Burma and the Lawyers’ Network are also to tell him about the situation.

Myat Hla, Central Court lawyer in Pegu [town] who was elected as People’s Parliament Representative in 1990 elections and later charged by authorities and had his license revoked: “This is our career profession – just like teachers. We are not rich people and having lost our lawyers licenses made a lot of difficulties for our survival.”

Meanwhile lawyer Htin Aung Htun, who represented farmers in Magwe Division’s Kanma township in their land dispute court case against the military owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings company has been disqualified by the Supreme Court in Naypyidaw.

Htin Aung Htun told DVB that; “In the order letter issued by the Supreme Court it claimed that, according to an investigation report, I am known for writing complaints for my clients when they lose their cases and that I had no intention of handling my cases as a credible lawyer and that I showed no dignity as a lawyer in the cases.”

He added that; “I don’t know who conducted the investigation, who wrote the report or who scrutinised it.”

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