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Indo-Burma border news (r)
Friends of Burma appeal to UN against death sentence
Imphal May 10: Okram O. joy, Convenor and Kailah Aggarwal, working Convenor
of the Friends of Burma have written a letter to Ms. Mary Robinson,
commissioner UN Human Rights Commission, Switzerland appealing against the
death sentence to six persons.
For the first time, after a gap of 22 years, the military junta in Burma
SPDC has taken a retrograde step of giving capital punishment to six
political activists. They condemn this act of SPDC as, like Amnesty
International, they consider the death penalty to be the ultimate form of
cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of right life
enshrine in international human rights instruments.
They are deeply hurt and disturbed by this invocation of the specture of
death penalty by the SPDC and gravely concerned with the plight not only of
the six pro-democracy activist sentenced to death but also about the fate
of the other Burma citizens arrested in recent month.
Sometime between the January and March, 1998. 39 people, most of them
pro-democracy student activities, were arrest by SPDC personal. Of these
39,6 persons-Ko Thein(44), Naing Aung(31),Than Zaw Swe(31), Myint Han(44),
Khin Haling(44) and Let Yar Tun(39)-have been given death penalty.
This was confirm by the SPDC run official media on April 29 1998. The rest
33 have been put into Insein Prison and given rigorous imprisonment for a
period ranging from 7 to 14 years.
According to SPDC, four of the six persons given death penatly are members
of the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF). ABSDF was initially a
Thailand based armed opposition group, but it has recently announced that
it had abandoned armed struggle. The junta, however, has blamed all
opposition group of ex-students in exile in Thailand and India, of students
inside Burma, of monks and women -including National League for Democracy
(NLD) led by Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the defunct Burma
Communist Party for conspiring to instigate public unrest without any
It has charged all, the six given death penalty and thrity three put into
jail, of antigovernment activities and conspiracy to kill state leaders and
of trying to explode an ASEAN diplomat's establishment.
All the victims including Myint Han, a Buddhist monk and a member of Youth
Monk association have denied the SPDC charges.
They have questioned the legal validity of the sentences since none of the
39 were allowed legal representation daring their trial at a special court
inside Insein Prison. The All Burma Students' League (ABSL) students
opposition group mainly basic in India has questioned the legal and
constitutional validity of Special Court's verdict since, according to
Burma law only those convicted of "treason" or drug trafficking are liable
to death penalty.
They would like to appeal to the commissioner, and through you the people
and government all over the globe, to ask the SPDC to immediately commute
these deaths sentences and to repeal all acts and laws relating to 'deaths
penalty', so that the barbaric practice is abolished for good.
They as a philanthropic organization, strongly believe that only the
transfer of power from the SPDC junta to the constitutionally elected
government of NLD, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, through honest, peaceful
political dialogue can mark the beginning of democratic governance of