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Appeal against death sentence for leaking official secrets

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Lawyers plan to file an appeal against the death sentences on two of their clients handed down by the special court in Burma yesterday for allegedly leaking official secrets to the public.

The two former high ranking officers of the regime were sentenced to death in a secret trial by the court sitting inside Insein prison for leaking information about tours made by two junta leaders to Russia and North Korea.

According to Insein prison sources, the lawyers planned the appeal process today for the two clients, retired Major Win Naing Kyaw and upper division clerk Thura Kyaw from the Foreign Ministry, Europe Affairs Department.

“The lawyers Htun Aung, Myo Aung and Khin Maung Myint co-signed on the criminal power to represent retired Major Win Naing Kyaw and they plan to file the appeal today. We also learnt that Thura Kyaw’s lawyer is planning to file an appeal for his client,” a source close to Insein prison told Mizzima.

Reports of secret trips of Vice Senior General Maung Aye and Gen. Thura Shwe Mann were leaked on the internet and to Burmese media outside the country in mid 2009. Retired Major Win Naing Kyaw, Thura Kyaw a.k.a. Aung Aung Ko and a commoner Go Byan Sein a.k.a. Ah See were arrested, tried and handed death sentence plus 20 years imprisonment, death sentence plus 15 years imprisonment and 15 years imprisonment respectively by Rangoon North District court sitting inside the Insein prison yesterday.

But it is not yet clear whether another inmate Goe Byan Sein’s lawyers will file an appeal for their client.

Retired Maj. Win Naing Kyaw was arrested in July last year and sentenced to death under section 3 of Emergency Provisions Act, 15 years imprisonment under section 33(b) of Electronic Act, 3 years imprisonment for illegal possession of foreign exchange and 2 years imprisonment for unauthorised possession of official secrets.

Thura Kyaw a.k.a. Aung Aung Ko was sentenced to death under section 3 of the Emergency Provisions Act and 15 years imprisonment under section 33(b) of Electronic Act.

Go Byan Sein a.k.a. Ah See was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment under section 33(b) of the Electronic Act.

A veteran legal consultant in Rangoon said the current regime is not a legal government under the constitution and cannot award such death sentences.

But over 200 such death sentences have been awarded since 1989-90 when the present military regime (SLORC and later changed to SPDC) assumed power. It is not known if there was actual implementation of the death sentences since then, he said.

According to the leaked reports, which reached Mizzima as well, Vice Senior General Maung Aye who is number two in the military hierarchy visited Russia at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister from 2 to 6 April 2006 and got guarantees and signed an agreement on building a 10 MW nuclear reactor, further study programme for Burmese trainees in Russia in nuclear science and space technology.

Moreover the Russian government assured the junta that it would sell more MIG 29 fighter jets and MI 17 helicopters, give training on production of guided missiles and provide naval vessels.

A similar visit to North Korea was made by a delegation of senior military officers led by General Thura Shwe Mann, number three in the junta, in November 2008 via China. It resulted in agreements on cooperation between the two armies, giving technical assistance in building tunnels for aircrafts and naval vessels in Burma and underground bunkers.

In 1976, Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint, then personal assistant of former Defence Chief-of-Staff General Kyaw Htin, was sentenced to death for a failed plot of assassinating leaders of the Burmese regime including dictator Ne Win. At that time, Ne Win’s government assumed power with the help of the 1974 constitution and could award the death sentence.

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 January 2010 21:47 )  

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