Two more rights lawyers given four months' jail term each

Nov 07, 2008 (DVB)-Defence lawyers U Aung Thein and U Khin Maung Shein each have been handed down four month’s prison sentence this morning for ‘contempt of court’ by Burma’s supreme court.

The sentence was passed after the judge of Rangoon Hlaing township court reported the alleged violation to the supreme court yesterday, U Aung Thein told DVB from his office in Rangoon.

"I am waiting for the police to come and take me to jail, with my baggage and medicines at the ready, as there is no medicine in prisons. I’m ready when the police are."

When asked why the judge accused them of contempt of court, he explained:

"Our clients verbally notified that they no longer have faith in the judicial proceedings and do not want to be tried anymore."

"If we are found guilty of contempt of court for doing this, then, let it be."

U Aung Thein insisted that the sentence is unjustified but he would face the consequences of defending political activists.

"If we are held responsible for this, we have to stick our heads out. I have no plan to counter argue or appeal against the sentence."

"This kind of thing will continue to happen now and in the future. Most lawyers make a living by conventional means but new lawyers will emerge (to defend political activists)."

"As long as there is the country and politics, this kind of thing will never disappear. In the fight between dhamma and a-dhamma, there will always be defenders of the truth. If I don’t do it, other people who do will emerge."

"My regards to all DVB staff and see you in four months time."

According to the latest report, special branch police are yet to come and take U Aung Thein to prison and he had gone home from his office for the night.

Among the clients of U Aung Thein and U Khin Maung Shein are prominent leader of 88 generation students, Min Ko Naing and the monk-leader of 2007 saffron revolution, Ashin Gambira.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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