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UNION OF MYANMAR: Myanmar: Human rights violations continue in the name of national security

16 Feb 2006
Region: UNION OF MYANMAR
Topic: Individual at risk
Amnesty International deplores the decision by the Myanmar authorities to prolong the detention without charge or trial of three senior opposition political leaders.
The organization renews calls for the immediate and unconditional release of these prisoners of conscience, whose detention has been extended by the maximum period provided for by security legislation.

Amnesty International remains concerned that the Myanmar authorities continue, in the name of national security, to deny people their fundamental rights solely on the basis of their peaceful political activities.

The Myanmar authorities today extended the house arrest of U Tin Oo, 78, Deputy Chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) by a further year. Senior opposition figures and NLD MPs elect Dr. Than Nyein, 68, and Daw May Win Myint, 56, both imprisoned since 1997, also face a further year in prison without charge or trial, following the authorities’ extension of their detention orders in mid January and early February 2006 respectively.

These three senior NLD leaders, who are aged or in poor states of health, should never have been deprived of their liberty. U Tin Oo has been detained since a violent attack on NLD members in late May 2003. Medical doctors Dr. Than Nyein, deputy chair of the NLD’s Yangon Organizational Committee, and Daw May Win Myint, head of the NLD Women’s division, are suffering from ill health. They have already served sentences of seven years imprisonment for trying to arrange a meeting with NLD General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently detained under house arrest without charge or trial under the 1975 State Protection Law. Since the expiry of their prison sentences the authorities have repeatedly imposed further detention orders on them under the 1975 State Protection Law.

Amnesty International is concerned that the 1975 State Protection Law used to detain them denies fundamental rights, including the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial. It permits the authorities to bypass the legal system, arbitrarily classify anybody a danger to state security and hold them under house arrest or in prison without charge, trial or the right to appeal their detention order. Under the law, the government may impose detention orders of up to one year, renewable for up to five years. It has been used for the prolonged unlawful and arbitrary detention of persons solely on the basis of their peaceful political opinions.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called for an end to the use of state security legislation, including the 1975 State Protection Law, to penalize and imprison peaceful political activities in Myanmar, where more than 1,150 political prisoners are imprisoned.


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Public Statement
AI Index: ASA 16/002/2006 (Public)
13 February 2006

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