New restrictions hamper appeal process

Nov 28, 2008 (DVB), The authorities are using new restrictions and delaying tactics to make it difficult for defence lawyers to lodge appeals on behalf of detained activists, a lawyer told DVB.

Defence lawyer Pho Phyu, who represents several political prisoners, said the delays could damage his clients' chances of a successful appeal.

"In order to lodge the appeals we tried to copy down the sentences at the court but we are not allowed to do so," said Pho Phyu.

"These delays could cause us to lose the opportunity to lodge the appeals," he said.

"And even when we have got all the necessary documents from the lower courts, we still need to apply for a legal representative's letter from Insein prison because our clients have been transferred to regional jails."

The greatest difficulty is the reduction in the time allowed to prepare an appeal, Pho Phyu said.

"Before, we were allowed three months to prepare for the appeal," he explained.

"Now only one month is allowed, according to the latest amendment to the law."

Separately, the authorities are continued their campaign of intimidation against government opponents.

U Asaya of South Dagon monastery was arrested early this month and is being tried at Insein township court for having foreign contacts.

Kyaw Thu Htike/Hteik of Hlaing Tharyar was arrested in connection with last September's demonstrations and is being tried at Mayangone township court.

He is expected to be sentenced on 10 December, International Human Rights Day.

Kyaw Thu Htike was a worker in the Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone and had been actively working for the rights of his colleagues.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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