EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 16/04/94
EXTRA 05/94 Death Penalty/Legal Concern 25 January 1994
MYANMAR (BURMA): Khin Maung Oo, alias Let Kut and three other persons
Amnesty International is concerned at reports that Khin Maung Oo and three
other persons were sentenced to death on 10 January 1994 in Yangon (Rangoon).
According to an official Myanmar radio broadcast on 12 January, the four were
given death sentences by a special court for the murder of a student, Maung
Naing Win, on 8 January. Amnesty International fears that the four are in
imminent danger of execution, and has heard unofficial reports that students
in Yangon have met the First Secretary of the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC), Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, to demand a public hanging.
Amnesty International is also concerned that the four may not have received
a fair trial.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty without reservation on the
grounds that it constitutes a violation of the right to life, and the right
not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to the radio broadcast, on the evening of 8 January, three people,
including student Maung Naing Win were travelling on a commuter bus when they
were robbed by pickpockets. The three reportedly followed the pickpockets
from the station road bus stop in Hlaing Township and demanded the return of
the wallet. They were then reportedly attacked by the alleged pickpockets,
and Maung Naing Win died from stab wounds. A special court tried Khin Maung
Oo and the three other accused persons and sentenced them to death only two
days after the crime allegedly took place. No details were given about the
exact charges brought against the four accused persons, the laws under which
they were charged, or whether they had a lawyer to defend them.
Large-scale public unrest and pro-democracy demonstrations led by students,
Buddhist monks and others occurred in Myanmar in 1988, following the stabbing
of a student in a tea-shop. The SLORC took power and thousands died as the
uprising was violently suppressed. Over a hundred death sentences were handed
down in the aftermath of the uprising, although Amnesty International has not
received reports of any executions being carried out.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes and airmail letters either
in English or in your own language:
- expressing unconditional opposition to the death penalty, which constitutes
a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- expressing concern that Khin Maung Oo and three others have been sentenced