Detainees jailed on USDA threat charges lose appeal

Dec 14, 2007 (DVB), Six people imprisoned in October for intimidating the Union Solidarity and Development Association have had their appeal rejected, according to their lawyer U Myint Thwin.

The six are family members and colleagues of National League for Democracy member Than Lwin, who was attacked by a man with a knuckle-duster in June.

They were found guilty of intimidation for reportedly threatening to burn down the USDA office and kill Than Lwin's assailant, who had fled into the building after the attack.

Maddaya NLD deputy chairman Nyo Gyi was given a seven-year prison term, while Than Lwin's son Zaw Min Lwin and four other NLD members were sentenced to five years each, which was reduced to one year each in an earlier appeal.

The group appealed again to have their convictions overturned, but the latest appeal was rejected on 10 December.

Myint Thwin said that he did not believe his clients' behaviour could be described as intimidation.

"According to the law, for someone to be charged with intimidation they must have made the other party really scared," the lawyer said.

"Even the police officers who testified for the prosecution said in court that [Nyo Gyi] didn't really intimidate the USDA members or make any threats," he said.

"Since it's clear that he didn't really make any serious intimidation, then we think that he should be freed."

Three other people who were also found guilty in the original trial had their convictions overturned in an earlier appeal last month and were released.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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