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Myanmar: Further information on: fear of torture / legal concern: 156 detainees released, at least 35 detained

, N° d'index: ASA 16/028/1996

New arrests: U Khin Maung Thaung, a Mandalay Division NLD leader, U Kyi Aung, engineer from Sagaing town, U Tin Maung Aye, merchant from Mandalay, U Kyaw Htway, engineer and teacher, U Kyaw Thaung, NLD division leader from Sagaing, U Pwar, engineer from Mandalay, U Aung Kyi, engineer from Mandalay, Maung San Hlaing, also known as Tin Hlaing and Eva: As the crackdown against political opposition in Myanmar continues, AI has learned of the arrests of eight more people, apparently for their peaceful opposition activities. The organization fears for their safety in detention as ill-treatment is commonplace in Myanmar. The first four detainees mentioned above were taken to a court hearing on 5 June but they have not yet been charged. Their dates of arrest and places of detention are unknown. According to unofficial sources, they were arrested for possessing a critique of the National Covention by the Burma Lawyers' Council, which is an expatriate opposition group.

EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 16/28/96
18 June 1996
Further information on EXTRA 73/96 (ASA 16/14/96, 21 May 1996) and follow-ups
(ASA 16/16/96, 22 May; ASA 16/19/96, 24 May; ASA 16/22/96, 29 May; ASA 16/26/96,
7 June) - Fear of torture / Legal concern
MYANMAR156 detainees released, at least 35 detained
and new arrests: U Khin Maung Thaung, a Mandalay Division NLD leader
U Kyi Aung, engineer from Sagaing town
U Tin Maung Aye, merchant from Mandalay
U Kyaw Htway, engineer and teacher
U Kyaw Thaung, NLD division leader from Sagaing
U Pwar, engineer from Mandalay
U Aung Kyi, engineer from Mandalay
Maung San Hlaing, also known as Tin Hlaing and Eva
As the crackdown against political opposition in Myanmar continues, Amnesty
International has learned of the arrests of eight more people, apparently for
their peaceful opposition activities. The organization fears for their safety
in detention as ill-treatment is commonplace in Myanmar.
U Khin Maung Thaung, U Kyi Aung, U Tin Maung Aye and U Kyaw Htway were all
taken to a court hearing on 5 June 1996. However, they have not yet been charged,
although they are scheduled to appear in court on 19 June. Their dates of
arrest and places of detention are unknown. According to unofficial sources,
they were arrested for possessing a critique of the National Convention by
the Burma Lawyers' Council, which is an expatriate opposition group. (The
National Convention is a group, convened and controlled by the military, whose
aim is to agree the principles of a new constitution).
U Kyaw Thaung, U Pwar and U Aung Kyi were taken to a court hearing on 10 June,
but were not charged at that time. They are also scheduled for a second hearing
on 19 June, and their dates of arrest and places of detention are also unknown.
They were apparently arrested for possessing "political" letters and material
from "illegal organizations".
Maung San Hlaing, also known as Tin Hlaing or Eva, was arrested on the evening
of 13 June in Yangon (Rangoon, the capital). For the first time in 20 days,
he had left the home compound of NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, where he
had been staying. He drove to Kamayut Market, parked his car, and as he crossed
the street, he was pursued by five people who took him into custody. He has
not been heard from since that time. Apparently on 14 and 15 June officers
from Military Intelligence Unit 12 searched his family's home and confiscated
videotapes and photos. Maung San Hlaing, a 27-year-old Muslim, had been arrested
previously, although Amnesty International has no further details. He was acting
as a bodyguard for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the time of this latest arrest.
The 27 people named in the EXTRA Update of 7 June are believed to still be
held in Insein Prison. Some 156 NLD activists have now been released, but
information about others who were arrested in the government crackdown on the
opposition in late May is still not available. Amnesty International remains
concerned about their whereabouts.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD colleagues held public gatherings in front of
her house on the weekends of 8-9 and 15-16 June with no interference from the
2
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC, Myanmar's military
authorities). However, on 7 June the SLORC issued Law No 5/96, which prohibits
any individual or group from writing a constitution. The penalty is from three
to 20 years' imprisonment. Amnesty International is concerned that the
sweeping and vague provisions of Law No 5/96 may be used to imprison NLD
activists. During the NLD party congress held from 26 - 28 May, the NLD
announced that they would begin to draft a constitution. If anyone were to
be charged and sentenced under the provisions of Law No 5/96, Amnesty
International would consider them to be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned
solely for peacefully expressing their non-violent political views.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in English or in your own language:
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of U Khin Maung Thaung,
U Kyaw Htway, U Kyi Aung, U Tin Maung Aye, U Kyaw Thaung, U Aung Kyi, U Pwar,
and Maung San Hlaing if they are being held solely for the peaceful expression
of their non-violent political views;
- reiterating calls for the immediate and unconditional release or the 27
prisoners held at Insein Prison;
- seeking assurances that the vaguely-worded provisions of Law No 5/96 will
not be used to imprison anyone for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom
of expression.
APPEALS TO:
1. Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Director of Defence Services Intelligence (DDSI)
Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Yangon, Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: General Than Shwe, Yangon, Myanmar
Telexes: 21316
Salutation: Dear General
2. Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, Secretary 1
State Law and Order Restoration Council
c/o Director of Defence Services Intelligence (DDSI)
Ministry of Defence, Signal Pagoda Road
Dagon Post Office
Yangon, Union of Myanmar
Telegrams: Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, Yangon, Myanmar
Salutation: Dear General
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Myanmar accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 18 July 1996.

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