Thursday, 14 November 2019

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Lawyer arrested for defending labour activist freed


New Delhi (Mizzima) - A lawyer, arrested for defending a labour rights activist in Burma’s Pegu division, was released on Friday after the regime scaled down his four year sentence early this month.

The lawyer Pho Phyu was arrested in January 2009, while defending lobour rights activist Zaw Htay, arrested and tried for lodging a complaint to the International Labor Organisation’s (ILO’s) liaison office in Rangoon regarding a land confiscation case in Pegu division.

Zaw Htay was helping farmers in Aung Lan Township in Pegu division draft a letter of complaint to the ILO regarding the local army battalion’s confiscation of their farmland.

“I was arrested on my way to court to submit evidence that would have refuted the false evidence presented against Zaw Htay. I was picked up to prevent submission of true evidence,” said Pho Phyu.

He said that the legal system in Burma is failing to protect the rights of citizens and much needs to be done to correct it, so that peoples’ fundamental rights and freedom are protected.

In 2008, the local army battalion in Pegu division confiscated farmlands for an army-run sugar mill. It arrested farmers resisting or complaining about the seizure along with their lawyer.

With the ILO’s liaison office in Rangoon intervening, the arrested farmers were released. However, the labour rights activist Zaw Htay, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, continues to be incarcerated in Thayet prison in central Burma.

 

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