[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

NEWS- Burma won't Let Jailed Opposi

Burma won't Let Jailed Opposition Have Lawyers-Nld


               RANGOON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Eight jailed
               members of Burma's leading opposition
               party have been denied the right to hire
               lawyers for their defence, the National
               League for Democracy (NLD) said on

               The NLD said eight party members, who
               were arrested last month in connection
               with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
               organisational trips to some townships,
               were not allowed to defend themselves in
               hearings on Tuesday. 

               ``As it was learnt that the case would be
               heard on December 2, 1997, respective
               lawyers and family members of (the
               detainees) went to the Insein Prison at
               0900 today,'' an NLD statement said. 

               But it said prison officials did not permit
               the lawyers to defend the NLD members
               nor allow the family members to see the
               detainees. It said the decision was made
               in an order by ``higher authorities.'' 

               Government officials could not be reached
               for comment. ``Hearing of the cases
               should be carried out in the presence of
               the public and the right of defence through
               the lawyers must be allowed according to
               the Judiciary Law enacted by the State
               Law and Order Restoration Council
               (SLORC),'' the NLD statement said. 

               The SLORC was the previous military
               government that ruled Burma with an iron
               hand since seizing power in 1988. The
               SLORC was dissolved last month and a
               new ruling body, the State Peace and
               Development Council (SPDC), was set up
               and led by the same four top generals. 

               The SPDC has not made any policy
               changes since taking power. The eight
               NLD members, three of whom were
               elected as members of parliament in an
               annulled 1990 election, were arrested on
               October 28 for their roles in political
               gatherings the party and Suu Kyi tried to
               organise in some of Rangoon's suburban

               After the government allowed one meeting
               to take place, it prevented the rest by
               setting up barricades and trucking away
               party supporters who had gathered at
               various party headquarters. 

               One of the eight detainees was Dr Than
               Nyein, brother-in-law of powerful SPDC
               Secretary One, Lieutenant-General Khin

               Than Nyein was one of the NLD members
               elected as an MP in the 1990 election.
               Although the SLORC called the poll, which
               the NLD won by a landslide, it never
               accepted the results. 

               Than Nyein was previously arrested early
               this year for violating a law regarding
               registration of private clinics. He was fined
               and released after being held briefly. 

               The arrest was seen by some analysts as
               a test of the strength of Khin Nyunt -- head
               of military intelligence. It came amid talk of
               a split within the SLORC between Khin
               Nyunt and his followers and a hardline
               faction. ^MORE@ 

                     Copyright 1997 Reuters Limited.All rights